The ultimate refuge for rare and endangered species, forests are now the focus of much attention. On the Riviera, a 151 hectare sector at Folly-Molard, straddling the municipalities of Blonay (89 ha), Montreux (37 ha) and La Tour-de-Peilz (25 ha), has just been put under protection. An agreement has been signed between the Canton, the three Communes and three private alpine companies.
“The forests will remain open to the public, but it will be important not to think outside the box,” said Caleb Walther, a municipal in Montreux. “The idea is not to ban, but to channel the flow of walkers,” adds forest chief Alexandre Allenspach.
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Located between 1300 m and 1750 m above sea level, the Folly-Molard sector offers a typical Pre-Alps landscape, between pastures, forests and mountain pastures. Thanks to this wealth of different environments, the region presents a great diversity as regards fauna and flora. The perimeter put under protection includes both “natural” forest reserves and so-called “special” forest reserves. In the former, the objective is to guarantee the natural development of the forest cycle, without any intervention. “That, except for a big beetle epidemic (note: a small beetle that pests trees),” comments Serge Lüthi, forest inspector.
There, the woods will therefore no longer be maintained, allowing the natural forest dynamics to flourish freely. Only the maintenance and security of the walking paths will be maintained. “We encourage visitors to stay on these trails, also for safety reasons,” notes Anne Golay, head of forest biodiversity section in the Canton. Because a forest that is not maintained can be dangerous. “
The crested black grouse
In so-called “special” reserves, foresters favor rare and endangered species through targeted measures. The aim is to conserve and develop habitats favorable to the region’s high-value birds: black grouse, grouse or woodcock. As all these people love blueberries, blueberries will be brought to light. Forests will also be opened to facilitate the flight of black grouse. Because the famous rooster is cramped in these woods.
The environmental program therefore plans to provide it with larger spaces for parading as well as take-off areas, a sort of flight corridor facing predators, lynxes, foxes or humans. And old trees will be preserved to allow cavicultural species, such as the Eurasian Woodpecker, to develop. “In the so-called natural reserves, we seek to encourage insects or even fungi which are linked to the presence of dead wood”, comments Reynald Keller, forest inspector.
Located between 1300m and 1750m above sea level, the Folly-Molard offers an ideal refuge for the black grouse and other endangered species. CREDIT: CLAUDE MOREILLON
The State of Vaud financially supports the establishment of the forest reserve. The agreement defines the conditions of implementation, the calculation of the financial assistance, the terms of payment as well as the obligations of the parties in terms of execution. “With this agreement, public and private owners agree to do nothing in their forests for a period of fifty years,” says Anne Golay. And we pay them a subsidy to compensate for the loss of yield from the sale of wood. ”
In Switzerland, the forest, which represents 31% of the territory, provides habitat for almost half of the 3,600 animals deemed to be priority, mainly birds and mammals. In the canton, it is still home to thousands of animal and plant species, but some of which struggle to survive. This is why the Cantonal Forest Inspection is working to develop forest reserves, islets of old wood, revitalize edges and enhance the habitats of these priority species.
A strategic priority
Currently, forest reserves represent 3.4% of the territory of Vaud forests. Taking into account the projects in progress, this rate will increase to 4.6% at the end of the year. Ultimately, the Directorate General for the Environment (DGE) intends to place 10% of the cantonal forests in reserve. The largest in the canton is currently that of Pierreuse in Pays-d’Enhaut (1,142 ha, including 620 ha in the forest). The second (350 ha) was created last year in the Hongrin valley, straddling Veytaux, Villeneuve, Rossinière and Château-d’Œx.
Created: 02-14-2020, 10h11