Land use and land cover

What's new?

In focus

Nomenclatures (German)

The standard nomenclature NOAS04 comprises 72 basic categories combined from cover (Land Cover, NOLC04) and "pure" use (Land Use, NOLU04).

Landscape change

The landscape of Switzerland is changing. 1500 image comparisons of different types of landscape change in Switzerland have been made. These can be viewed on the geoportal of the Swiss Confederation.

Geodata (German)

Geocoded information on the state and development of land use and land cover in Switzerland in the form of geodata

Swiss landscape quiz (German)

Test your landscape knowledge! The quiz on land use statistics shows aerial photos, which are not clearly recognisable at first glance.

At a glance

Land use in Switzerland, state 2018

State of land use in Switzerland


Share of area

Total surface area

41 291 100%
3 271 7.9%
   Sealed areas
2 081 5%
14 525 35.2%
   Arable land 3 884 9.4%
   Alpine farmland 5 033 12.2%
13 134 31.8%
   Forest, brush forest 12 492 30%
10 361 25.1%
   Water bodies 1 781 4.3%
   Glacier Firn 1 030 2.5%
Notes de pied de page Sources

The main categories of land use

‘Urban sprawl’, ‘retreating glaciers’, ‘bush encroachment in the Alps’: Our changing landscape provides the media with headlines and is a topic of discussion in politics. Around a fifth of Swiss land has a different use today than the one it had only thirty years ago. While settlements and forests are expanding, the agricultural area is constantly diminishing. The ‘Land use statistics’ provide precise data on these and the many other small-scale changes in land use.

Further information





Press releases

Statistical sources and concepts

On this topic

Land use change

1500 image comparisons with different types of landscape change in Switzerland

Settlement and urban areas

Settlement and urban areas continue to increase. Information on status and development.

Agricultural areas

Agricultural areas are steadily decreasing. Information on the state and change.

Wooded areas

Forests and woods remain stable in the lowlands and increase in the Alpine region. Information on status and development

Unproductive areas

The unproductive areas have a large internal dynamic. Information on status and development.


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



Our English pages offer only a limited range of information on our statistical production. For our full range please consult our pages in French and German (top right hand screen).