Indicator landscape

Sealed area

The expanding settlements and infrastructures result not only in urban sprawl and fragmentation of the landscape, but also in an increase in the sealed area. Buildings, concrete, tarmac and other impermeable coverings cause habitats, land used for food production and other soil services, such as the storage and filtering of water or climate regulation, to be irretrievably lost or severely compromised.

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
negative negative
Degree of land sealing (Percentage of the national territory) 2013/18: 5 Degree of land sealing (Percentage of the national territory) 2004/09: 4.7 Degree of land sealing (Percentage of the national territory) 1992/97: 4.2 Degree of land sealing (Percentage of the national territory) 1979/ 85: 3.6

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FSO: Land Use Statistics

The area of sealed land has increased significantly over the last 40 years and is now (2013/18) over 200,000 hectares or 5% of the country's total land area. The annual growth in the area of sealed land has steadily increased; between 2004/09 and 2013/18, it increased by around 16,000 hectares in absolute terms.

The degree of sealing in Switzerland differs greatly depending on the biogeographical region. While the sealed area in the Alps and on the southern flank of the Alps is rather low at around 3%, it is much greater in the Jura and on the northern flank of the Alps, at 5.4% and 8.5% respectively. On the Swiss Plateau, the figure reaches as much as 27.9%. In areas recorded in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance and in mire landscapes, the sealed area is comparatively low, with values between 1.1% and 1.3%.

International comparison

In 2020, Germany reported a sealed area of 6.3% (Bodenversiegelung | Umweltbundesamt).


The survey method for this indicator is based on the area statistics for Switzerland. Of the 27 basic categories of the various land cover categories recorded in the area statistics NOLC04, three can be used to estimate sealed areas, namely categories 11 (paved areas), 12 (buildings), 13 (greenhouses). Category 11 also includes partially sealed areas, such as gravelly soil.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Stabilisation 1979/ 85 2013/18 38.89% Growth negative
Last updated on: 14.03.2023

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