The Alps are one of the largest and highest mountain ranges in the world, forming an arc of 1200 km in length from Nice to Vienna and covering about 192,000 km².
The mountain range stretches across 8 different countries where about 13 million people are distributed over approximately 6,000 communities. This is the reason for their rich cultural heritage.
Even as one of the most intensively exploited mountain ecosystems in the world, the Alps continue to maintain a high degree of naturalness.
They are a labyrinth of mountain chains and valleys where dynamic natural processes – Foehn storms, avalanches, rock falls, periodic flooding, and harsh winters – continuously re-shape the landscape and are the driving force for biological diversity.
It thus comes as no surprise that the Alps also support a huge variety of habitats: from warm, lush valleys and deep mountain gorges to ice and rock deserts dominating the summit regions.
Their mountainous character sets the Alps apart from the surrounding landscapes and separates the dry evergreen forests of the Mediterranean region from the central European deciduous forests.