The European Alps
Spruce, fir, and pine trees dominate large portions of montane forest. Deciduous tree species, like oak and beech, continue to cover large areas. Wild flowers blanket many alpine meadows.
Red deer, ibex, chamoix, marmots and other species can be found climbing high up in the mountains. And large carnivores – wolf, bear and lynx – are slowly returning after almost being totally wiped out from hunting.
Traditional farming practices dating back to Neolithic times have in fact added to biodiversity. For instance, extensively farmed Alpine meadows located at 1800 to 2200 metres above sea level support up to 80 species of plants per hundred square metres.
Human pressures have already damaged the unique biodiversity characterising most Alpine valleys through strong urbanisation trends and intensified agriculture.
Now, even the most remote natural areas of the Alps are threatened as trends towards mass tourism become more prevalent.
The European Alpine Programme
What We Do
Nature knows no boundaries, neither do the problems it faces. In order to protect Alpine nature in its entirety, a comprehensive approach is needed.
The Alps are one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in Europe. They are also one of the most exploited ecosystems worldwide. Given this, it comes as no surprise that the Alps were selected as a region of global importance for biodiversity conservation. The Global 200 Initiative of WWF recognizes the Alps as one of the most important ecoregions for conserving a major proportion of the global biodiversity for future generations.
A globally important region
European Alpine ProgrammeInternational cooperation across the Alps is key to saving Alpine nature. The legal framework provided by the Alpine Convention and the creation of the Natura 2000 network have set the stage for pan-Alpine conservation action.
Now, four WWF national alpine organizations (WWF Austria, WWF France, WWF Italy, and WWF Switzerland) are closely working together under the umbrella of the European Alpine Programme (EALP) to implement a comprehensive and transboundary conservation strategy in the Alps.
By adopting the ecoregional approach, the WWF offices shift towards integrated, large-scale and long-term conservation, supporting the objectives of the Alpine Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Our GoalsThe EALP is promoting actions in collaboration with its partners to bring innovation into the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the Alps. We accomplish this by:
1) considering biodiversity from an Alps-wide perspective
2) identifying biodiversity hotspots, where conservation measures will be most effective
3) enhancing connectivity between natural areas to allow for the freedom of movement for animals in the Alps.
Our VisionThe EALP and its partners have developed a biodiversity vision for the Alps. This vision identifies the areas most important for biodiversity conservation in the Alps - the Alpine gemstones - and the natural corridors that connect them.
WWF is acting at both the pan-Alpine and local levels to save the Alpine gemstones and to ensure the existence of an intact ecological network. Protecting and restoring both the cultural and natural elements of these areas will be key to their protection.
Tel.: +41 44 297 22 52; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernhard Kohler, EALP representative, WWF Austria
Tel.: +43 1 488 17 281; Email: email@example.com
Jean-Christoph Poupet, EALP representative, WWF France
Tel.: +33 478 27 39 95; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mauro Belardi, EALP representative, WWF Italy
Elisabeth Soetz, EALP Freshwater Coordinator
Tel.: +43 512 57 35 34 304; Email: email@example.com
Gabor von Bethlenfalvy, EALP Large Carnivores Coordinator
Tel.: +41 44 297 23 56; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org