Preserving the landscape

Some of the sheep that are used to mow on CERN sites.


To reduce the visual impact of new buildings on the landscape, plans are discussed with local authorities to ensure that additions to CERN sites do not alter the overall appearance. Landscaping projects include trees, bushes and grassy areas planted to ensure that CERN sites remain natural and indigenous to the local area.

CERN sites stretch over a total surface of 211 hectares shared between France and Switzerland. Of this, 109 hectares are green spaces such as lawn, meadows or woods. These green spaces are carefully maintained in order to respect their biodiversity. For example, CERN hosts the greatest variety of wild orchids in the Lake Geneva area boasting at least 16 known species. CERN prefers the natural maintenance of these areas, for example sheep are used to mow the lawn. CERN sites also hosts deer and many species of birds.

Outside of these enclosed areas, a further 415 hectares have been made available to the Organization's by the Host States. This land is preserved for future projects; in the meantime, they remain either farmland or woodland. The forests are maintained by the French national office of forests and the fields are cultivated by local farmers. The money earned from renting the land to farmers is used to finance projects benefiting the public, such as cycle paths and fitness trails.

Ophrys apifera, or bee orchid, one of the 16 varieties present on CERN site.

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