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Helvetia donates young trees for reforestation of protection forests

No matter whether we’re in the car, out hiking, or skiing the slopes: forests protect us from rockslides, landslides, debris flow, and avalanches. Around a third of Switzerland is covered in forests. A large proportion of them are protection forests.

25 June 2014, text: Margrith Mermet, photos: Helvetia

Philipp Gmür, CEO at Helvetia Insurance, planting the first trees – here with the protection forest ambassadors Liza Andrea Kuster and Dario Cologna in a protection forest area in the Bernese Highlands
Since 2011, Helvetia has been involved in the reforestation and maintenance of Switzerland’s protection forests.

Protection and sustainability play a huge role in Helvetia’s core business, so it makes sense that Helvetia has been engaged in the reforestation and maintenance of protection forests in Switzerland since 2011. To this day, the company has donated some 50,000 trees in five different regions, the majority of which have already been planted. The project has been met with enthusiasm from the public, foresters, and politicians.

Young trees are welcome

The long-term benefits of protection forest advocacy are obvious: it takes about 20 to 40 years for a
tree to fully develop its protective function, after which it lives for a good 200 years. It is important to Helvetia that its advocacy also be sustainable. “There is still a lot of work to do in Switzerland’s forests. That’s why we have planned for this project to run for many years”, explains Martin Schwald, Head of the Protection Forest Project. Foresters and forest offices are grateful for the donated trees. “The additional saplings are a welcome contribution to their regular reforestation programme.”

Planted by hand

Every year, Helvetia realises two protection forest projects and donates about 10,000 saplings. Local forest offices determine the type of trees that get planted. Helvetia not only funds the saplings but also gets its hands dirty: CEO Philipp Gmür grabbed a hoe himself and planted one of the first trees. He was accompanied by Helvetia’s protection forest ambassadors Dario Cologna, cross-country Olympic medallist and world champion, and Liza Andrea Kuster, Miss Earth Switzerland 2010/11.

A tree pass — donate a tree

Anyone can contribute to the protection forest project. For ten francs, Helvetia will plant a tree in the protection forest area of your choice. “Those who donate will receive a certificate with the tree number, type of tree, and the area where the tree stands”, explains Martin Schwald. Protection forest certificates are a popular gift idea and can be ordered easily via the Helvetia website. “We want to raise public awareness of the importance of our protection forests. Protection forest certificates let the public help us to help the forests.”

Helvetia protection forest

Join in!

By buying a protection forest certificate for 10 francs, you can help to preserve Switzerland’s protection forests.

More information on Helvetia's protection forests

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