The moors are highly endangered: over the past 150 years, moors have diminished more than any other habitat in Switzerland. As a result, they are now among the rarest and most valuable landscapes in the country.
Since we believe preserving and promoting intact moorland is so important, we want to be a centre of excellence for moorland.
The moors of Entlebuch have been significantly impacted by human activity, with moors on the lower levels and sloped terraces especially heavily depleted. During the World Wars, several metres of peat («poor man’s coal») were exploited in the face of energy and food shortages, with many moors were drained for agricultural purposes. Drainage also took place with a view to the reforestation of protective forests. The history of peat extraction is described on the energy trail of the Mettelimoos raised bog in Entlebuch. Visitors will also find an old sod hut («Turbeschürli») complete with contents.
Since the Rothenturm Initiative was adopted in 1987, all moors in Switzerland have been protected and any utilisation of moors has been clearly regulated. In spite of this, the quality of the protected moorland has continued to deteriorate – even in Entlebuch. As far as raised bogs are concerned, a 2009 survey of the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch found that around 60% of these nationally protected areas were degraded and in need of enhancement. Renaturation of the moors also makes sense from a climate protection viewpoint: moors provide carbon sinks that should not be underestimated as peat bogs can store carbon dioxide for long periods. By contrast, drained moors are like powerful carbon spreaders as peat built up over thousands of years is rapidly degraded.
Like all Swiss moors, the moors of Entlebuch feel the effects of changing water conditions, ageing drainage ditches, increasing nutrient intake from air and water and the encroachment of scrub and trees. For several years, efforts have been under way in the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch to restore the quality of the moors and conserve habitats for highly specialised fauna and flora over the long term.