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Switzerland Geography 1999

    Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

    Geographic coordinates: 47 00 N, 8 00 E

    Map references: Europe

    total: 41,290 sq km
    land: 39,770 sq km
    water: 1,520 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

    Land boundaries:
    total: 1,852 km
    border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

    Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

    Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

    Climate: temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

    Terrain: mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
    highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

    Natural resources: hydropower potential, timber, salt

    Land use:
    arable land: 10%
    permanent crops: 2%
    permanent pastures: 28%
    forests and woodland: 32%
    other: 28% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 250 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: avalanches, landslides, flash floods

    Environment—current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea

    Geography—note: landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France and northern Italy, contains the highest elevations in Europe

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    Revised 1-Mar-99
    Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)