Reliable data on our vital resource

Biological diversity is a vital resource. That is why it is essential for Switzerland to know how the country’s biodiversity is doing and developing. Furthermore, Switzerland has committed itself to long-term biodiversity monitoring by signing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). To this end, the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN has launched Biodiversity Monitoring Switzerland (BDM).

Purpose and objectives

Biodiversity Monitoring Switzerland surveys the long-term development of species diversity in select plant and animal species. By keeping an eye on common and widespread species, BDM focuses on trends and developments in Switzerland’s normal landscape. Inspired by Swiss Range Statistics and the Swiss National Forest Inventory, BDM chose a systematic sampling grid consisting of three distinct nationwide networks.

Together with other environmental information, BDM data forms an important basis for nature conservation policy and for other policy areas that have a major impact on biodiversity, such as agriculture and forestry.


Contribution and special features

  • BDM compiles species lists that are as complete as possible for all survey areas. This means that the disappearance of species can also be detected with a high degree of probability.
  • BDM field staff not only visit well-known biodiversity hotspots or sites where rarities are found, but also randomly visit places that would otherwise be unlikely to be surveyed.
  • BDM surveys common and widespread species that are not normally recorded by biologists.
  • Repeated surveys at exactly the same location using exactly the same method allow precise statements to be made about changes in species diversity.

Further programs

In Switzerland, a number of other programs also provide information on biodiversity in our country:

An overview of all federal biodiversity monitoring programmes can be found on the website of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

  Overview of FOEN

Cantonal programs

In the cantons of Aargau, Thurgau, Graubünden, Lucern, St.Gallen, Appenzell Innerrhoden/Ausserrhoden, supplementary surveys are being carried out via one of BDM's monitoring networks. The sample is condensed in such a way that meaningful results are obtained for the project area in question. The cantonal programs are coordinated by BDM Switzerland. 

BDM findings


BDM contributes to improving knowledge about biodiversity. Its data is requested by numerous stakeholders. We have put together some examples of how BDM's findings are used.

  Selected Results

New publications with BDM data

Advancing forest inventorying and monitoring

by Ferretti, M., Fischer, C., Gessler, A. et al.

Forests are under pressure and going through rapid changes. However, current inventorying and monitoring (IM)…
Rising temperatures are leading to increased prevalence of warm-affinity species in ecosystems, known as thermophilisation.…
We adopted a landscape-scale approach to analyze the genetic patterns (diversity, structure, and differentiation) of…

Geochemischer Bodenatlas der Schweiz

by Reusser, J. E., Siegenthaler, M., Winkel, L. H. E., Wächter, D., Kretzschmar, R. & Meuli, R. G.

Reusser, J. E., Siegenthaler, M., Winkel, L. H. E., Wächter, D., Kretzschmar, R. & Meuli,…

 All Publications

Hotspot Special Edition

Cover of the Hotspot special issue on 20 years of biodiversity monitoring in Switzerland.

The Hotspot special edition on 20 years of BDM shows who works behind the data and highlights current developments in biodiversity.

National Database

BDM data and the species records are forwarded to the respective national data and information centre and integrated into its databases. Data on vascular plants are sent to InfoFlora, data on moss types to Swissbryophytes and data on butterflies, snails and aquatic invertebrates to info fauna.