Magazine «environment» 1/2015 – Environmental Monitoring

Environmental data for politicians and the public > Scientific data collection is necessary to protect the environment > Forward-thinking monitoring methods > Environmental report for 2015

Bruno Oberle


Editorial by Bruno Oberle

Felix Kienast and René Longet

Science and politics in dialogue

The words “statistics” and “state” are etymologically related. This reminds us that governance is inconceivable without data. Environment magazine speaks to two experts, a producer and a user of environmental data, who shed light on the interplay between scientific statistics and policy-making.

The water hoses above the nozzle plate


Monitoring programmes once opened our eyes to heavy pollution levels and excessive nutrient inputs in the air, water and soil. Today, long-term monitoring programmes are showing that countermeasures definitely yield results. But there is still much work to be done.

Citizen Science: it takes a community to create knowledge

Urbangene is asking Geneva residents for some assistance: It wants their help in finding the ponds where toads live. But this study not only focuses on the endangered amphibians. It also investigates stocks of a small butterfly and a variety of herbaceous plant. Through this project, researchers want to learn more about the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that help promote biodiversity in an area that is subject to heavy settlement development.

Logo EnviroSpaceLab

International information sharing

GEO and GEOSS, UNEP and EUA, EIONET, UNECE and so forth: This is not some random gibberish, but rather a list of institutions that enable easy access to reliable ecosystem data, which is an essential basis for effectively counteracting environmental problems that transcend borders.

Social value added thanks to open data

The FOEN provides the public with increasing quantities of free environmental data - a “creative asset”: Resourceful people are taking advantage of the data on smartphone applications. Some of the most popular are water temperatures and river levels.

Probative value

Global temperatures should rise two degrees at most. Science and administration are working toward that goal with great urgency. A wide range of diligently interpreted climate and environmental data provide the foundation for their work.

Environmental Monitoring Networks

Swiss environmental monitoring networks record the state of all natural resources. Divided into themes, this overview shows the start date of each monitoring system, its goal and the organisation that collects the data. The start dates of monitoring, the number of monitoring sites, where possible, the data collection rate and the competent institutions are shown in parentheses.

New technologies

In recent years, the technological possibilities of environmental monitoring have increased exponentially. Nevertheless, human instinct and judgment are still required because not everything can be left to technology. Cost is also a prohibitive factor in how much it can be used.

Umweltbericht Schweiz 2015

The new environmental reports

In 2015, the Swiss Federal Council will be the publisher of the environmental report for the first time as a result of the amendments to the Environmental Protection Act it adopted in June 2014 in connection with its accession to the Aarhus Convention. In doing so, the executive branch will provide the public with comprehensive and broadly supported information about the state of the environment.

Further information



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Last modification 11.02.2015

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