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Location Switzerland, Valais
Central coordinates 7o 49.00' East  46o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A3, B2, B3
Area 28,016 ha
Altitude 530 - 3,695m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

SVS/BirdLife Switzerland



Summary A broad river valley in the central Alps. The valley is dominated by agricultural land, characterized by small plots, and some alluvial forests. The IBA includes a south-facing hillside with some traditional agriculture and xerophytic vegetation. It is an important site for species found in semi-open landscapes, including Rock Partridge, Wryneck, Redstart and Rock Thrush. The main threats in the valley are from infrastructural developments, particularly road and railway, the building of a golf course, and industrial development. There are projects to remove dams along some sections of the River Rhône.

Site description Das IBA «Zentralwallis von Sierre bis Visp» liegt in den westlichen Zentralalpen und umfasst den breiten Talboden und die angrenzenden Berge im Norden. Die Talebene weist noch kleinparzelliertes Land, reiche Heckenlandschaften (z.B. bei Susten) und einen Altarm des Rotten (Rhone) auf. Zwischen Susten und Sierre mäandriert der Rotten ziemlich frei und bietet unter anderem dem Flussuferläufer Möglichkeiten zur Brut. In diesem Bereich liegt der Pfynwald, ein ausgedehnter Föhrenwald auf einem ehemaligen Bergsturzfächer. Der untere Bereich des Südhangs zeichnet sich vielerorts durch eine einzigartige Felsensteppe mit xero- und mesophilen Pflanzengesellschaften aus: auf flachgründigem Boden und auf anstehendem Fels dominieren Federgraswiesen und Flaumeichenwälder. Hier wird vorwiegend traditionelle Landwirtschaft getätigt. In höheren Lagen und in Seitentälern geht der Laubmischwald in Nadelwald über. In der alpinen Stufe oberhalb der Waldgrenze dominieren alpine Rasen und Felsen. In den höchsten Regionen reicht das IBA bis in die nivale Zone.

Key Biodiversity Das Gebiet zeichnet sich durch eine sehr hohe Artenvielfalt an Brutvögeln aus. So kommen Arten der mediterranen Fauna (z.B. Zwergohreule, Ziegenmelker) bis hin zu alpinen Faunenelementen vor (Alpenbraunelle, Mauerläufer, Alpendohle, Schneesperling, Steinhuhn und Steinrötel). Besonders häufig sind Vogelarten der halboffenen Landschaft wie Wendehals, Gartenrotschwanz und Zippammer.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca resident  1996  60-110 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Near Threatened 
Falco peregrinus resident  1996  2-5 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Not Recognised 
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos resident  1996  5 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla breeding  1996  50 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus resident  1996  250-450 breeding pairs  A3  Least Concern 
Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus breeding  1996  300-600 breeding pairs  B3  Least Concern 
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus breeding  1996  100 breeding pairs  B2  Least Concern 
Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush Monticola saxatilis breeding  1996  40-100 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis resident  1996  100-200 breeding pairs  A3  Least Concern 
Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris resident  1996  150 breeding pairs  A3  Least Concern 
Alpine Citril Finch Carduelis citrinella breeding  1996  150-300 breeding pairs  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2011 high not assessed negligible
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species direct mortality of trigger species - hunting and trapping happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Alpjuhorn Federal Hunting Reserves 5,789 protected area overlaps with site 2,088  
Bergji-Platten Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance 275 protected area contained by site 275  
Bergji-Platten Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance 275 protected area contained by site 275  
Berner Hochalpen und Aletsch - Bietschhorn - Gebiet Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance 47,306 protected area overlaps with site 7,294  
Leukerbad Federal Hunting Reserves 4,163 protected area overlaps with site 2,927  
Mutt Fenlands of National Importance 5 protected area overlaps with site 2  
Pfynwald Floodplains of National Importance 348 protected area contained by site 348  
Pfynwald-Illgraben Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance 5,074 protected area overlaps with site 1,100  
Pfynwald-Illgraben Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance 5,074 protected area overlaps with site 1,100  
Raron-Heidnischbiel Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance 276 protected area contained by site 276  
Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Site 82,400 protected area overlaps with site 4,674  
Wilerhorn Federal Hunting Reserves 3,241 protected area overlaps with site 2,967  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland; Native coniferous woodland; Treeline ecotone  25%
Grassland Alpine, subalpine and boreal grassland; Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  23%
Rocky areas Inland cliffs; Scree & boulders  38%
Artificial - terrestrial Other urban and industrial areas; Urban parks and gardens  5%
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 25%
forestry -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport 5%
water management -

Protection status BLN-Landschaften: Bergji–Platten: vollständig im IBA; Berner Hochalpen & AletschBietschhorn-Gebiet: teilweise im IBA; Pfynwald–Illgraben: teilweise im IBA; Raron–Heidnischbiel: vollständig im IBA; Flachmoore: 1 Objekt: teilweise im IBA; Auengebiete: Pfynwald: vollständig im IBA; Jagdbanngebiete: Alpjuhorn: teilweise im IBA; Leukerbad: grösstenteils im IBA; Wilerhorn: grösstenteils im IBA; Naturpark: Wallis Pfyn–Finges: vollständig im IBA; Im November 2005 erlangte der Pfynwald den Status eines kantonalen Naturparks, der 17 km2 umfasst.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Central Valais between Sierre and Visp. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife