Pro Natura Vaud, Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland

Keeping patches of nature alive – development and management of nature reserves

Jacques Trüb has been engaged in conservation at Pro Natura Vaud, a regional branch of Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland for about 40 years. He has devoted much of his free time to the nature in his region, from the shores of Lake Geneva up to the high mountain meadows in the Alpes vaudoises. With a background in engineering but with a naturalist’s heart, Jacques, born in 1937, has committed himself passionately to saving patches of diverse natural habitats everywhere possible, even by restoring nature to areas where it has disappeared. This is the case at Les Mosses de Rogivue, a former peat moor which was destroyed by peat extraction and has been progressively restored and managed by Pro Natura since the 1970s as a protected area.

Many natural habitats – and by extension much of the country’s biodiversity – are threatened in Switzerland by habitat fragmentation and intensive agricultural practices. For decades one of Pro Natura’s most important activities has been to develop a network of protected areas in order to create what is now known as ‘green infrastructure’, and help animal and plant species to survive in an often densely inhabited and developed environment. Many of these sites are small and constitute patches of nature at the community level – they are also used for recreation or for children’s education purposes – with Pro Natura volunteers often responsible for their maintenance.

Pro Natura helps to maintain over 600 such areas, ensuring they retain their biodiversity and natural heritage for future generations. This work, initiated in 1914 by the creation of Switzerland’s first national park, is done alongside policy work and political lobbying and has resulted in relatively strong national legislation for nature protection. Its implementation is still weak at the local level, however, and so the commitment of local groups and their volunteers both as nature promoters and as watchdogs is even more essential nowadays than ever before.

“From one side it is nice to see there are more and more people interested in nature protection, and we have an increasing number of very effective volunteers in our group. On the other side it is very clear that there is a constant increase of pressure on nature, coming from all kinds of angles, and that there are problems that cannot be solved at our level, because the successful preservation of nature depends on many factors, many of which are external – not just from the neighborhood and surrounding countries, but also global ones. I think that organisations in both Switzerland and the rest of Europe should engage themselves more in preserving nature on other continents because it makes no sense to preserve just one site here in Switzerland, when huge sites around the world are being destroyed.”JACQUES TRÜB

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