By: Peter Knaus(Author), Roman Graf(Author), Jérôme Guélat(Author), Verena Keller(Author), Hand Schmid(Author), Niklaus Zbinden(Author)
336 pages, colour & b/w illustrations, 100 colour & 300 b/w distribution maps
Language: Bilingual in French and German, with bilingual summaries in English and Italian
The Swiss landscape has changed drastically within the last decades causing a strong impact on bird populations. Historischer Brutvogelatlas / Atlas Historique des Oiseaux Nicheurs illustrates these changes by means of the distribution of breeding birds between 1950-59, 1972-76 and 1993-96. This shows how much bird populations suffered already before 1970. The increasing influence of man on bird habitats is especially proven by the dramatic decrease in species in agricultural areas such as with Woodchat Shrike, Grey Partridge or Eurasian Hoopoe. There have, however, also been winners since 1950, e.g. Rook, White Stork or Eurasian Collared Dove. Nevertheless, the losers predominate. The depiction of vanished biodiversity is a plea for a more sustainable relationship towards the natural wealth of Switzerland.
The authors have drawn on two previous Swiss breeding atlases, in 1972-1976 and 1993-1996, and have searched archives and notebooks, and interviewed birdwatchers about the period 1950-1959 to create maps as if an atlas has been organised at that time. Historischer Brutvogelatlas / Atlas Historique des Oiseaux Nicheurs describes 100 species of breeding birds and for each species gives four distribution maps; one monochrome distribution maps for each of the above-mentioned periods, and a fourth larger map showing the comparison between all three periods.
"This book is written in German and French, but has good summaries in English and Italian [...] The story that this book tells is similar to that which one hears across most of Europe. Habitat loss and land use have forced many species to alter their breeding range. The image of Switzerland is perhaps one of untouched beauty with few problems. The truth is that the development of Switzerland from a rather poor agricultural to a rich industrial nation has changed land use enormously in the last sixty years"
- Keith Betton, Birding World 24(12), January 2012
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