In forest reserves, biodiversity conservation and promotion have absolute priority over all other interests.
In natural forest reserves, forestry activities are not carried out so that the forest can regenerate naturally. In special forest reserves, targeted activities are carried out to promote threatened species. These include many species that require a lot of light and warmth, for example.
These protected areas are important for national priority species and forest communities and habitats. Forest areas that develop naturally also serve as reference areas for research projects on near-natural forest management or climate change.
Under the Forest Policy 2020, at least 10% of the forest area will be included in reserves until 2030 and at least 15 large forest reserves (>500 ha) will be designated. More than half of the area target has been reached and the number of large forest reserves has already been exceeded. The regional distribution of the reserves needs to be further improved, especially as concerns the large reserves in the Central Plateau.
The data on forest reserves are also used for international reporting and to check progress toward goals in accordance with international commitments.
The cantons have strategies for establishing forest reserves (natural and special forest reserves) and are responsible for implementing them. The cantons provide the geodata with the reserve areas, which are recorded in a GIS database at the FOEN. The data are updated every 2 years at the national level.