Dry meadows

Dry meadows provide a habitat for many rare and extremely valuable animal species, such as wild bees, butterflies or grasshoppers. Of 3000 native plant species, 350 are found exclusively in dry meadows and pastures. Unfortunately, 95 percent of these unique biotopes have disappeared in recent decades. The habitats have developed through centuries of agricultural use without fertilisation. Approximately half of all dry meadows that still exist today are located in mountainous areas.

Around 40 percent of the butterfly species in Switzerland are directly dependent on dry meadows. There are many insect species that have specialised in the living conditions of the dry meadows. Indeed, dry meadows represent the wild bee richest habitat in Switzerland. Wild bees are solitary insects and do not produce honey. Honey bees are actually considered competitors of wild bees, especially on the Central Plateau.

The management of dry meadows is extensive and must be adapted to local conditions. The areas are neither fertilised nor irrigated and are cut 1 – 2 times per year, depending on autumn grazing. Regular management is essential for the preservation of biodiversity, but can be very time and labour intensive depending on the location.