Full commitment for insects
The Aargau Jura Park is restoring the historic Chalm trail, and promoting biodiversity in the process. Swiss Post is supporting the hiking trail project with an incentive award.
The sun shines warmly and there is a constant chatter in the flower meadow as the crickets chirp merrily away. And Florin Rutschmann once again leaps into the grass somewhere. The eagle eyes of this environmental engineer and insect authority have spotted an insect. He stretches his hand out to us, revealing a cricket. He carefully holds onto it. “That is a male,” he explains. “Only males can chirp.” They do it with their wings. He shows us the round membrane used to make the chirping noise. The cricket is missing a leg. “They fight hard and fiercely with their rivals. They often have to sacrifice a leg to escape.”
Sunlight for biodiversity
There are numerous insects in this steep meadow above Schinznach. We are in the Aargau Jura Park, an extensive local recreation area and nature park of national importance. “Here, we have freed the slope from the bushes and overgrowth and thinned out the edge of the forest,” explains Project Manager Philipp Schuppli of Pro Natura. “Now the sunlight can reach the ground again, making an ideal habitat for countless plants and insects.”
This work is just part of the Aargau Jura Park’s project to restore historic trails. The project has just been awarded a sponsorship prize by Swiss Post. Every year, Swiss Post awards prizes to three particularly family-friendly hiking trail projects. A second prize was awarded to the restoration of an old pilgrim trail in Lengtal, in the canton of Valais, while the third went to the restoration of historical trails around the popular Vully caves in Fribourg on Mont Vully.
A stony home
Alongside the structural and landscape management measures undertaken in the Jura Park, a great deal is also being done to conserve and promote biodiversity. One such example is the rebuilding of dilapidated dry stone walls. As we watch how the wall-building experts work the stone by hand with the utmost precision, a great tit flits nervously to an intact section of wall and disappears into the cracks. “She has her nest in there with her chicks,” explains Philipp Schuppli. An entire nest in the cracks? “Yes, there are huge cavities inside the wall,” says the environmental expert. Lizards, snakes and fire salamanders hibernate inside the walls.
Extensive work for extensive biodiversity
“The decline in biodiversity and the disappearance of insects have long been matters of concern in specialist groups,” says Philipp Schuppli. “A number of measures have been implemented, but the results have not yet been sufficient.” That makes projects like the one here in the Aargau Jura Park all the more important, with Pro Natura, municipalities, forestry workers, nature and bird protection associations, landowners, volunteers and park employees working together to promote the diversity of flora and fauna.
Copyright: © Michael Sieber