Jubilee publication to commemorate the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research's 75th anniversary


To mark its 75th anniversary, our Foundation will publish a book in April 2014. One half of the book will be a retrospective of early archive material from the days of the first research expeditions. The other half will provide an insight into the research topics to which the Supervisory Board is currently directing its efforts. Table of contents


The book launch will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 2014.It will be held at the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern.


Helvetiaplatz 4
CH-3005 Bern
Phone: +41 31 350 04 40

No application recquired



To mark its 75th anniversary, the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research is also organising a two-day excursion with Christian Schlüchter, Emeritus Professor at the University of Bern's Institute of Geological Sciences. Professor Schlüchter's particular area of expertise is quaternary and environmental geology.


If you would like to take part in this excursion, please write to
The number of available places is limited.




Pro Montes Prize 2014


2014 ProMontesPrize


The Pro Montes Prize is a cash prize of 2,000 Swiss francs, which is awarded to a young research scientist (under 35) for outstanding work in the field of alpine research. Its purpose is to make a significant contribution to ensuring a viable future for the alpine landscape that has been shaped by man. One third of all the species of flora and fauna found in Switzerland's mountains depend for their survival on the heat and light provided by the centuries-old treeless habitats which mankind has created in the alpine regions. It is therefore vitally important to encourage and support research aimed at finding new ways of securing a future for this man-made alpine landscape which is also harmonious with efforts to protect the natural, uncultivated environment.


The "Phil.Alp – The Alps as seen by young research scientists" conference will take place on the 5th and 6th of June 2014 in Bern.


ICAS (the Inter-Academic Commission for Alpine Research) invites applications from young research scientists wishing to present a scientific paper or a Science Slam at the conference. Applications must be submitted no later than February 28, 2014. The doctoral dissertation or master's thesis on which the presentation or science slam is based must have been completed between June 2012 and May 2014.


The winner of the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research's 2014 ProMontesPrize (for projects ensuring the long-term conservation of man-made alpine landscapes) will also be chosen at the Phil.Alp conference. The deadline for entries for this prize is also February 28, 2014.


Entry forms and other documentation are available, in German and French only, on: OR


The Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research has chosen to devote its support specifically to research into ensuring the future of the man-made alpine environment, since these landscapes – in contrast to the alpine woodland and moorland not cultivated by mankind – have derived insufficient benefit from more established environmental-protection initiatives.


The rapid changes which occurred during the 20th century also encompassed the alpine regions. While the Alps' forests were largely able to re-establish themselves after the massive exploitation of their resources seen in the 19th century, and while alpine pasturelands undoubtedly also benefited from 20th-century environmental-protection measures, it is also the case that a number of development trends witnessed over the last few decades continue to exert an adverse effect on the traditional alpine man-made landscape to this day. The expansion of tourism and transport in the Alps has created employment opportunities for the mountain population which have impinged on their husbandry of the landscape. In fact, however, it is agriculture itself which poses the greatest threat to the alpine landscape fashioned over the centuries by mankind and to the third of all species of alpine flora and fauna which depend on that environment for their survival. On the one hand, the more intensive farming methods being used in the most commercially viable areas are reducing the number of species that can survive there. On the other hand, in areas whose populations are dwindling as a result of insufficient employment opportunities and a lack of public services, the natural reafforestation of land which is now no longer farmed is also contributing to reduced biodiversity.


Securing the future of man-made alpine landscapes requires an entire spectrum of measures, ranging from innovative private initiatives to the enactment of appropriate legislation.The Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research has decided to contribute one element to this mosaic by supporting research into all matters relating to the long-term preservation of man-made alpine landscapes.


The Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research's Pro Montes Prize was first awarded on June 6, 2012 in Thun, on the occasion of the Phil.Alp Conference organised by ICAS (the Inter-Academic Commission for Alpine Research).

The prize was first won by Aline Andrey, who wrote her doctoral dissertation at the University of Bern's Institute of Ecology and Evolution. The subject her dissertation, which was written in French, was the short-term effects of fertilisation and irrigation on biodiversity in sub-alpine hay meadows (Effets à court terme de la fertilisation et de l'irrigation sur la biodiversité des prairies de fauches en milieu subalpin).

Aline Andrey was able to demonstrate that when very sparse hay meadows are treated with a combination of limited quantities of manure and sprinkler irrigation, this enables them, in less than one year, not only to produce greater quantities of hay but also to increase their biodiversity. Future research in this area will determine the optimum calibration of manure fertilisation and sprinkler irrigation required for the best possible outcomes in terms of hay output and biodiversity.


The objective, in a nutshell, is to achieve alpine diversity rather than alpine monotony.