Presenting a nature park
Biosfera Val Müstair is a Regional Nature Park of national importance that, together with the Swiss National Park and parts of the Scuol district, comprises the first UNESCO high alpine biosphere reserve in Switzerland. Eighty per cent of the farms here in the sunny upland valley are run entirely organically. The many and varied craft workshops in the valley embrace an ethos of tradition and quality. The region has a unique cultural and natural landscape. Val Müstair is distinguished by its particular treasures, such as the Benedictine Convent of St John, a UNESCO World Heritage site; the Manufactura Tessanda weaving mill; numerous museums; and typical Graubünden villages, set in spectacular mountain scenery. From deep in the Rom valley to the highest peaks a wide variety of habitats provide superb conditions for a wealth of wildlife. This harmony of ecology and economy is hoped to guarantee the livelihoods of the local population for many years to come.
Requirements for regional Nature Parks
Val Müstair is an area of special natural and scenic value. Its conservation assets include the diversity and rarity of the indigenous flora and fauna and their habitats, a minimal level of degradation of these habitats and of the scenic quality of the landscape and villages, and the unique character and special quality of the cultural landscape. These and other conditions entitle a region to apply for “park of national importance” status. A corresponding request must be made to the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), which considers the application. If all the requirements are met, the “park of national importance” certification is awarded that the Biosfera Val Müstair has held since 2011.
Promotion of the regional economyTo boost a sustainably managed economy, local natural resources must be used in an environmentally sensitive manner in Regional Nature Parks and there must be improvements in the regional processing and the marketing of goods produced in the park. The Biosfera Val Müstair Nature Park made significant progress towards this goal in 2018 with two major park projects. First, the new cheese factory – the Chascharia Val Müstair – opened and is now manufacturing milk and cheese products in revamped and enlarged facilities. The new building was made possible through a regional development project that the Biosfera Val Müstair Nature Park carried out jointly with a farmers’ project group. The project is managed by Agricultura jaura, a company set up by 25 farmers and two institutions. The construction of the new cheese factory marked the achievement of the first important stage. A new abattoir and meat processing plant and a modernised grain collection centre are due to follow. Furthermore, right on schedule for the opening of the new Chascharia, the first regional products were awarded the official Nature Park Products label, which certifies that:
The certification of the first dairy, cereal and meat products represents a major milestone. The next step is to work closely with various producers to achieve the certification of beverage and honey. At the same time, initial efforts are being made to combine and simplify sales of regional products and to open up new sales channels inside and outside the valley.