Unproductive areas

A third of the glacier area disappeared in 33 years

A quarter of Switzerland is covered by unproductive land. The main part, almost 45%, is made up of vegetation-free areas (rock and scree). The share of unproductive vegetation is around 28%, that of water bodies a good 17%. Just under 10% of the unproductive areas are covered by glaciers and firn.
The size of the unproductive areas has changed only slightly in recent decades: Nationwide, they have decreased by 2.1% between 1979/85 and 2013/18. The breakdown of the increases and decreases in unproductive areas shows that the glaciers in particular have lost a lot of terrain (33%). The area of glacier shrinkage was a good 505 km². Where the ice melted, mostly vegetation-free scree and rock areas remained.

Further information





Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Section Geoinformation
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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