The Alps Essay

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The Alps

Average altitude 1700 m (5576 ft.). The Alps determine the climate and vegetation, providing a continental watershed. While the Alps contribute enormously to the Swiss identity, economic activity is concentrated in the Plateau.
The Platue
Depopulated mountain regions
Two thirds of the country is covered by mountains, ice, rocks, forests and alpine meadows. 11 per cent of the population live in the mountain regions.
Urbanized landscape If you travel across the Plateau, from Lake Geneva to Lake Constance, you never pass through unpopulated territory. The landscape continually shows signs of man's presence.
When you leave a town, the next one is never far away. Villages lie within sight of each other. Cultivated
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However, the total length of hedgerows has increased, and there has been a move towards restoring open streams, which in previous decades had been built over. Every effort is made to balance the demands of the various interest groups to ensure the countryside retains its diversity, and to avoid irreparable damage to the habitats of plants and animals.
Agriculture
The country of farmers and cows, as many still view Switzerland, has a lower percentage of farmers than most other Western European countries. The size of the average farm is
14.5 hectares (36 acres), and in the mountain regions 7 hectares (17 acres). Overall, the number of farms is dropping. However, the number of larger farms - those over 20 ha (50 acres), and in particular those over 50 ha (125 acres) - is increasing. About 6 percent of the working population is employed in agriculture and about one third of food is imported. Three quarters of the farmed area in Switzerland is devoted to meadows and pastures, as both climate and terrain make most of the country unsuitable for crops.
Cereals and vegetables are limited to the lowlands. About one third of farms are engaged in crop production. Swiss farmers find themselves facing two opposite demands from their consumers: on the one hand to produce cheap food, and on the other hand to produce it in an environmentally friendly way. It is not easy to strike a balance between

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