Insights - Outlooks

The serie “Insights – Outlooks” informs readers about interesting developments in the Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage region three times per year.

Photo: Karina Liechti

Traditional irrigation: cultural heritage with a future?

Over centuries, people living in the dry valleys of the Valais built up an extensive irrigation system to ensure water supply. Today, traditional irrigation continues to be a characteristic feature of the region’s valuable cultural landscape. But what future is there for this heritage?
More information in German (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Photo: Jost von Allmen

Nature-based tourism: a challenge and an opportunity

The Alps are among Europe’s most important areas for recreation and tourism. But how can tourist destinations in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Region meet today’s challenges? Are there forms of tourism that succeed in tapping the potential of nature, culture, and landscapes without diminishing it?
More information in German (PDF, 600KB)

Photo: Managementzentrum SAJA

Sustainable land use between tradition and innovation

The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage region is distinguished by the diversity of its alpine landscapes, making it an attractive place to live. This four-pager shows how various communally organized groups contribute to sustainable use of natural resources. More information (in German) (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Gasterntal Hochwasser Oktober 2011
Gasterntal. Photo: Hugo Raetzo, 2011

Natural hazards

Natural hazards, especially in view of climate change and recent socio-economic developments, pose major challenges to our society given the sensitivity of mountain areas to environmental changes. This report discusses these natural processes and hazards, and their consequences for the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Region. More information (in German) (PDF, 641KB)

Unesco World Heritage Swiss-Alps Jungfrau Aletsch
At Belalp. Photo: Hanspeter Liniger, 2016

Landscape quality in the World Heritage region: examples from Valais  

The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage region is characterized by cultural landscapes of high aesthetic, cultural, and ecological values. But what is the outlook for the World Heritage region’s valuable landscapes? Can their qualities be preserved in light of ongoing structural changes in agriculture? More information (in German) (PDF, 823KB)

Lebensräum Unesco Biosphäre
Glacier forefield of the Unteraar glacier. Foto: Sandra und Stefan Grünig-Karp 2007

More than a barren landscape – precious habitats in the high mountains of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site

The high mountain landscape of the Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to numerous natural habitats that have remained largely undisturbed by humans. Highly specialized organisms have adapted themselves to harsh living conditions, successfully colonizing craggy areas of snow and ice that seem inhospitable to life. Indeed, we must allow ourselves to look past the initial appearance of barrenness and inspect things more closely.

More information (in German) (PDF, 884KB)

Tayloria rudolphiana on a great maple in Meiringen Foto: Thomas Kiebacher 2014

From the western green lizard to Tayloria rudolphiana moss – biodiversity in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage region

The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage region is incredibly rich in flora and fauna. Indeed, certain species and subspecies can only be found in this environment. This lends particular weight to the need to preserve biodiversity in the region. But can we fulfil this responsibility in the face of the many changes and threats occurring today? 

More information (in German) (PDF, 529KB)

unesco welterbe wirtschaft
Construction activity in the World Heritage Region. Foto: UNESCO Welterbe SAJA

Economy and society: the World Heritage region in transition

The economic and societal structures in the region surrounding the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage site are constantly changing. For example, the share of people working in agriculture has decreased markedly in recent years. Today, over two-thirds of the working population is active in the service sector, especially [MT1] in tourism, transport, and health services.

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.4 MB)

unesco welterbe wald
Pineforest at the Grimsel lake. Photo:

Forests in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage region: diverse, dynamic, and invaluable

Forests perform many important functions for society. While our planet is losing large areas of forest daily, forests in the European Alps are expanding and changing the Alpine landscape – including in the World Heritage region.

More information (in German) (PDF, 892KB)

Kandersteg’s ice hockey club. Today, EHC Kandersteg play in the third division, have almost 200 members, and run a large junior department. Photo: Michael Schinnerling

Clubs and societies in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage region

Clubs and societies offer a space for fun and games, sports, and cultural activities and are important places of social identity building. What kinds of associations exist in and around the World Heritage site, and what do they do?

More information (in German)

Märjelensee, J.R. Bühlmann, 1835. Source: Collection of Prints and Drawings, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Swiss Alps UNESCO World Heritage site: an inspirational space

Awful or awesome: the impressive alpine landscape has fascinated and inspired for hundreds of years. For the Jungfrau-Aletsch region in the Swiss Alps, its beauty and ability to inspire were criteria for its acceptance onto the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.1 MB)

cultural landscape
Traditional wooden fence in Grindelwald: a valuable component of a diverse cultural landscape. Photo: Karina Liechti, CDE

Cultural landscapes of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Region: dynamic and elusive?

Can you remember what the landscape outside your front door looked like 20 years ago? Cultural landscapes change continually, often without our being aware of it. Measuring the change is difficult, and guiding it is highly challenging.

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Baltschiederbach. Photo: ©

In the Water Tower of Europe – Perspectives and Challenges

Water is the basis of all life. Mountain springs supply us with water to drink and for services. Water shapes and greens our landscape, creates habitat for plants and animals. What would the World Heritage region be without its streams and waterfalls?

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Hiking in Gimmelwald – in the background, the Gspaltenhorn. Source: © Jungfrau Region / Christian Bleuer

Recreational Landscape Use – Outdoor Activities in the World Heritage Region

Both locals and tourists appreciate the space for recreation in the World Heritage region’s landscape. Recreational landscape use is harming local flora and fauna in some cases, yet such interaction with the environment also serves to heighten people’s awareness of the value of our natural world.

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Cows in the alpine pass Grosse Scheidegg. Photo: Karina Liechti

World Heritage Region Also Shaped by Agriculture

The landscape found in the Swiss alpine region Jungfrau-Aletsch has attracted visitors for centuries. A decisive part of its appeal lies in the enduring contrast between a well-tended, cultural landscape, on the one side, and “wild nature”, on the other. But agriculture in the region is now subject to big changes due to structural transformation in the sector. To what extent could this threaten the values of the World Heritage Site?

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Blüemlisalp Glacier. Photo: ©

Time’s Passage Written in the Glaciers of the Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Site

Not only have the beautiful glaciers in the Jungfrau-Aletsch region inspired visitors and locals alike for centuries, they were one of the main reasons it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. But our warming climate is causing the glaciers to retreat, presenting numerous challenges to the people living in the alpine region.

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Colourful splendour in a field of flowers near the Trummelbach Falls in the valley of Lauterbrunnen. Photo: © Monica Koemeter-Padrun 2011

Of Lichen and Butterflies – Biodiversity in the World Heritage Region

The value of biodiversity is inestimable, as every living thing contributes to an ecological balance that keeps our rivers clean and soils fertile, among much else. What lies in store for species like the glacier flea, the blunt-leaved willow, and the mountain hare when changes in land use and climate change transform the environment?

More information (in German) (PDF, 1.6 MB)