The natural wealth characterising the Alps also reflects the historical influence of human presence in the area. About a quarter of all plant diversity is man-made or depends on particular forms of agriculture. Extensively farmed Alpine meadows located at 1800 to 2200 metres above sea level support up to 80 species of plants per hundred square metres.
Some of the many Alpine traditions can also provide practical solutions for conservation management in the Alps. For example, the use of guard dogs to defend livestock against wild predators was once a widespread practice in the Alps and an important strategy for living with bears, wolves, and lynx. Today, this traditional practice has disappeared from most parts of the Alps, resulting in unnecessary conflict between humans and the returning large carnviores. WWF is working with local communities to reintroduce the use of guard dogs in order to increase large carnivore acceptance in the Alps. (Read more...)
Threats to the cultural landscapeIn many parts of the Alps, rural areas are being abandoned for the urban centres, where job opportunities are more attractive. This trend has resulted in a loss of traditional practices.
What WWF is doing
Facts and Figures
Source: Alpine Convention
© Up to 80 species per 100 m2 in high Alpine meadows. © WWF European Alpine Programme
Up to 80 species per 100 m2 in high Alpine meadows.