The Swiss Vegetation Database permits quick and efficient access to a superb treasury of data encompassing a timespan of 125 years. Agroscope continues to maintain this database to this day, thereby keeping an eye on the development of our meadows.
Over the last century, and starting from Switzerland, many field botanists throughout Europe have recorded the floristic composition of selected vegetation populations defined in terms of surface area. Spatial and temporal information as well as data on ecological and economic parameters complete these surveys. Over the course of time, a widely scattered treasury of data thus arose, encompassing thousands of vegetation surveys noted down in field books and published for the most part in the form of tables in the most widely varying organs of publication.
In 1882, the two botanists Stebler and Schröter began their nationwide survey of around 600 vegetation populations to describe the different types of grassland. “We’ve set ourselves the task… of drawing all Swiss meadows and pastures within the circle of our consideration, in order particularly to promote forage production on the basis of these studies” said the two, explaining their plans. What was begun over 125 years ago and carried on into the present by many research-station staff members is to be made accessible to an interested public for current scientific issues and in-depth analysis by the Swiss Vegetation Database.
To this end, Agroscope digitally records both published and unpublished vegetation surveys, checks data quality and consistency, and files data in an easily accessible database. Such databases are to be compatible with similar ones in Switzerland and abroad.