Location and Values: The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch is located in the high north-central part of the Alps, in southern Switzerland. It includes some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world, with high peaks along the impressive north wall of the High Alps (the Eiger, 3,967m; Monch, 4,107m; and Jungfrau, 4,158m), and the largest glacier in Eurasia (the Aletsch glacier). It demonstrates an abundance and diversity of geomorphological features and provides an outstanding example of the process of mountain building (involving uplift and compression of the European tectonic plate as the African plate has drifted northwards). From an ecological perspective it provides exceptional insights into the processes of plant succession, including the response of alpine and sub-alpine plant communities to climate change and the colonization of new substrates following the retreat of glaciers.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘the World Heritage values of the site are in a good state with few negative trends. The main threat is climate change which will have a major impact on the property, plus increasing tourism, and in particular recreational practices such as heli-skiing, requiring strict management. The planning of hydroelectric infrastructure within the site and consequent termination of a landscape protection contract is of some concern as well as plans to develop a cable car in the immediate surroundings of the property, potentially affecting its OUV.’
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description