Flora & fauna
There is a broad variety of plants and animals in the small area of Switzerland, because of the extremely different climate and altitudes. For example, at lowlands, one can find such trees as cypress, palm, orange and almond trees. Going higher at around 1200 meters you can find beech, maple and oak trees. Up to 1700 meters, fir and pine trees will surround you. Reaching 2130 meters dwarf pines, larches will surprise you with their being. Even when you already pass the snow line, you can find about one hundred plant species including the symbol of the country: the famous Edelweiss.
In Switzerland, the edelweiss, also called Leontopodium alpinum, is a dearly treasured flower. Growing high in the Alps, edelweiss has always been an important symbol in the Swiss folklore. Starting from the nineteenth century, this flower was characterized by the clarity of the snowy mountains. Later, it became a sign of loyalty and true love, as many young men risked their lives climbing on top of the mountains just to collect edelweiss for their beloved ones.
Alps’ wildlife is just wonderful! Talking about the beauty and subtle play of colors in the rich Alpine flora is useless, as one surely needs to see this magnificent scenery in with your own eyes. The climatic conditions are rather difficult here, as between day and night the temperature variation can reach more than 40˚C.
The same variety we have also in the case of native animal species: 40,000 animals are counted in Switzerland including fox, deer, boar, chamois, otter, and many others.
The Federal Act on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage protect the flora and fauna, encouraging the preservation of biodiversity. There are about 72 native species of plants and animals listed as threatened in Switzerland. The Swiss National Park also plays a great role in the protection and biodiversity preservation. The territory of this extends 170 km² including most part of the alpine landscape. The nature is left untouched within its boundaries.
Even nowadays, on some of the Alpine summits, there are many more plant species than there were half a century or a century ago. Although throughout all this time, some species have died out altogether.
Wild animals that are under certain danger include the mountain hare and the ptarmigan. The continuous global warming has also been marked as a danger, because the forests take a long time to become used to these conditions. They may not be able to respond as quickly as the climate changes. However, not everything is lost in Switzerland. For example, various organizations and individuals are seriously engaged in keeping Switzerland's amazing species of plants and animals from the possibility of disappearing. Switzerland still owns some of the most breathtaking and untouched mountain and valley territories on earth. The lakes are flourishing with fish, and the mountains are prospering with vegetation. If you visit Switzerland, there is no doubt that the wide range of landscapes, weather conditions, plants and animals that Switzerland includes will astonish you. Switzerland will surely charm the lovers of spending their time in nature surrounded by the untouched forests, beautiful Alpine landscapes, shiny lakes and rivers, and various animals and birds.