Flood-Plain Fauna Database


The database serves as an instrument of nature protection. Especial attention is focused on flood-plain protection in Switzerland. The database was created by the Chair for Nature and Landscape Protection of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

Data retrieval

The retrievals possible here are examples of data extracts. Online retrievals are not yet possible, since the database is not directly connected to the Internet. We are pleased to answer special queries on potentials in flood plains.


The database is a tool for both practice and research. The reviewed information on fauna can be relationally linked and retrieved according to user queries.

The first aim was to create a tool for implementing the Flood-Plain Ordinance and the Flood-Plain Inventory, to wit, the ‘Flood-Plain Database’. Here, species that occur exclusively or primarily on flood plains were defined as flood-plain indicator species. In a second step, the database is extended to all habitats and is expanded into the ‘Eco-Fauna Database’.

Database Structure

The following information is entered in the tables:

  • Taxonomy
  • Distribution: biogeographic regions, altitude levels
  • Climate demands: average July temperature, day degrees, annual precipitation
  • Hazard
  • Developmental stages
  • Biotope type
  • Structure, stratum
  • Species traits: e.g. flood-plain indicator-species status, biotope linkage, nutritional type, heat requirement
  • Mobility: on the ground, in the water, in the air
  • Phaenology
  • Food
  • Flood-plain objects
  • Observations in flood-plain objects

The distinction between the different developmental stages of a species is particularly important, as these stages may have different ecological requirements and traits, e.g. dragonfly larva live in the water and cannot fly, whilst the imagoes live outside the water and are good fliers.

The database is programmed in Oracle.

Animal Groups 

2,700 species from the following animal groups have already been entered:

  • Mammalia (Mammals)
  • Aves (Breeding birds)
  • Reptilia (Reptiles)
  • Amphibia (Amphibians)
  • Mollusca (Molluscs)
  • Carabidae (Ground beetles)
  • Apidae (Wild bees)
  • Rhopalocera (Butterfles)
  • Heteroptera (True bugs)
  • Saltatoria (Locusts and grasshoppers)
  • Odonata (Dragonflies)

Species information was entered by experts reviewing the literature.

Examples of Database Applications

  • Faunistic potential: Calculation of what species/ developmental stages may occur in a given area, habitat, stratum or structure
  • Quality assessment of the habitats in an area based on the comparison of the actually occurring species with the potential species.
  • Potentially affected species/ developmental stages in an intervention (e.g. mowing) and its fallback procedure
  • Basis for the calculation of potential distribution maps
  • Simplifying the selection of target and indicator species
  • Various additional nature-conservation issues



  • Federal Office for the Environment FOEN; Evelyne Marendaz and Francis Cordillot
  • Swiss Centre for Fauna Mapping (CSCF); Yves Gonseth


Fauna Experts

  • Di Giulio Manuela, Winterthour
  • Gonseth Yves, CSCF, Neuchâtel
  • Hausser Jacques, Département d'écologie et évolution, Université de Lausanne
  • Marggi Werner, Thoune
  • Müller Andreas, Entomologie appliquée, EPF, Zurich
  • Neumeyer Rainer, Zurich
  • Otto Achim (†), Erlenbach
  • Rüetschi Jörg, Hinterkappelen
  • Stucki Pascal, Saint-Blaise
  • Thorens Philippe, Neuchâtel
  • Wittwer Alfred, Bienne
  • Wolf Matthias (†), Zurich
  • Zbinden Niklaus, Station ornithologique suisse, Sempach

Information Technology

  • Umbricht Michael, Mägenwil
  • Walser Doris, Service informatique, EPF, Zurich