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  • Writer's pictureRobin Hill

"Jurapark Aargau" - a project example

Updated: Jun 18, 2022

In our last blog entry we tried to explain what we me mean by our approach of "biosphere photography". It turned out quite theoretical and we were diving deep into some dry definitions of terms. Therefore, we would like to show you in more detail what we mean by that and demonstrate our philosophy on a more specific example down below.

Photo 1: "Ruin Schenkenberg, Jurapark Aargau" (© BuserHillPhotography)

For a little bit more than a year, we have the possibility to live in a house on the edges of "Jurapark Aargau". This park is part of the association of "Swiss Parks", which contains the highly protected and iconic "Swiss National Park", two "Biosphere Reserves", as well as several so called "Nature and Landscape Parks". The "Jurapark Aargau" is part of the latter category. The idea of these parks is to combine nature conservation, rural economy and the cultural heritage of a region: While there are wild landscapes, core zones and a diversity of animals and plants to be found within these parks, there is also villages, cultivated landscapes and a promotion of local products, which are all part of the concept. The same is basically the case for the UNESCO "Biosphere Reserves" - this international label only depends on the compliance towards a list of guidelines defined by UNESCO and whether the lengthy application process was accomplished succsessfully. So it's possible that there will be more parks of this UNESCO format in Switzerland in the future.

Photo 2: "Flowering Blackthorn near Densbüren, Aargau" (© BuserHillPhotography)

Even if the "Jurapark Aargau" does not have the official label of a "Biosphere Reserve", it basically applies to all the criteria on a theoretical level. At the moment it is rated as a "Regional Nature Park of National Importance". The special feature of the Jurapark is its embeddedness within the hills of the Table and Folded Jura chain in northern Switzerland. Besides the roughly 40'000 human inhabitants, one can also encounter 425 animal and plant species of national importance here. Different protected orchid and amphibian species are just two examples of many. The abundance of fossils, also, has made the region famous across national borders. The landscape is dominated by beech and pine tree forests, vineyards, rough pasture, hedge rows, quarries, small villages and fruit tree groves. Local handicraft, markets, rites and an abundance of culinary products round off the profile of the park. (Source: )

Photo 3: "Hiking trail through a mystical forest near Küttigen, Aargau" (© BuserHillPhotography)

This mix of nature conservation and the acknowledgement of the importance of human activity for the functionality of the region, is a perfect match for the philosophy we try to persue with our camera. On the one hand we love to wander through the enchanted forest of the Jurapark, where dead wood and gnarly trees - twisted by the winds - create valuable habitats for animal, plant and fungi species. The biggest dream would probably be to cross paths with one of the Lynxes who have their territories within the park. But also the diversity of birds and insects is impressive - almost every day we discover something new. And this is exactly how we encountered a European midwife toad for the first time at a small pond. It was a male, which had its clutches of eggs on its back, as it is typical for this species.

Photos 4-9: "Fauna within the Jurapark Aargau" (© BuserHillPhotography)

On the other hand, besides the "wild" side of the park, the "tamed" cultivated landscapes have also made their impression on us. Hedge rows, fruit tree groves, smoothly curved pastures, rough stone walls, vineyards and wooden fences - all these things enrich the region with photogenic elements. But this cultivated landscape is only "tamed" on the first sight: Because the fate of many animal and plant species is dependent on exactly this form of landscape shaped by humans since hundreds, if not thousands of years. The most prominent representatives would probably be bird species like Red-backed shrikes and Little owls, which by now in Switzerland are utterly dependent on human-formed landscapes. But also many wild plants and insects have adapted their needs to a certain agricultural use by us humans over countless generations. So, there is still a lot to discover and we are looking forward to all these small and large surprises that awaiten us in this region! For sure, a highlight will be autumn, when the now still jucy green hills will turn into a colourful spectacle, where yellow, orange, red and brown tones will dominate...

Photo 10: "Different layers of green around an agriculturally maintained meadow above Küttigen, Aargau" (© BuserHillPhotography)

In our project "Jura-Ketten" we extend our scope across the canton borders, as the neigbouring cantons of Solothurn and Basel-Landschaft supply us with more incredible landscapes of similar nature. This also shows that the border of biospheres - the way we define them, at least - are fluent and cannot be forced into tight corsets.

All photos of our project "Jura-Ketten"

More information on Jurapark Aargau

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