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Andermatt Swiss Alps

Wildlife is flourishing at Andermatt

Golf courses include not only greens, fairways, sand bunkers, fish ponds, walks and drives, but also areas that are given completely to nature conservation as well as those with extensive and less intensively used fields, hedgerows, amphibian ponds, and brooks. That’s why the canton Uri office of Nature and Landscape Preservation has been controlling and monitoring the creation and the operation of the golf course through the Ecology Technical Committee.

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Thomas Ziegler, agronomist at the Department of Nature and Cultural Heritage Protection, is a member of the Ecology Technical Committee and shows his satisfaction: “We are very satisfied with the development. The Bäz nature protection area to the northeast of the golf course has been expanded and represents a genuine enhancement. Rare plant species can be found there such as prickly sedge, sundew, and various orchid species.” Canton Uri is responsible for the care and maintenance of the protected area. “We assess the area periodically, and see to it that conditions remain optimal for the diversity of species.” But it’s not only the nature protection area that enhances the landscape between Andermatt and Hospental; the ponds and brooks on the golf course are very valuable for flora and fauna. Positive trends are clearly recognizable: 25 bird species were counted in a bird survey in 2012. In the medium-term, several bird species have benefitted from the structures which have been created. Butterflies were surveyed the same year. 44 butterfly species were counted, 14 of which are named on the Red List of Endangered Species in Switzerland. The high level of biodiversity is mainly due to the Bäz (Bäzhang) nature protection area, which provides an exceptional variety of habitats within a very small area.

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The positive trend was initiated even before construction of the golf course began: “We’re not only careful to see that the requirements of the nature protection area are respected but also that endemic bushes and shrubs are planted. To put it very frankly: a palm has no place on a high-Alpine golf course.”

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In the future, the Ecology Technical Committee intends to observe a very special creature more closely – the recreational hiker, which also likes to explore the protected areas: “What we must now monitor and assess is the more extensive usage by recreational visitors. Thanks to the ecological diversity and landscape quality, the area has become attractive to the local population as a place for recreational outings.”

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