Protection of natural resources

At CERN, the design of new buildings takes into account their integration into the landscape. In the past, some infrastructures were already developed with the aim to smoothly integrate with the landscape. One example is the retention of effluents from large civil-engineering worksites in ponds built to permit conciliation between water management and protection of the natural environment. Today these ponds aim to retain stormwater discharges from CERN’s site.

CERN has the largest population of bee orchids in the entire Lake Geneva region and to maintain this status CERN respects and supervises the management of its green spaces (more than 100 ha). Indeed, it is prohibited to pick orchids, and to permit the biological cycles of the species, the mowing of grass is delayed or replaced altogether by the grazing of sheep brought for this purpose to CERN's sites. For further information on biodiversity please see the CERN Environment report.

In addition, CERN has signed an agreement with the French Office National des Forêts (ONF), which was renewed in 2010, for the management and conservation of its forests, and for securing and preserving the banks of the river Le Lion. The forests of CERN are among the last lowland woodlands in Pays de Gex, which explains the conservatory interest of both France and CERN.

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Bee orchid, Ophrys apifera: the most widespread variety at CERN. (Image: CERN)

Pyramidal orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis: another common variety at CERN.(Image: CERN)

Giant orchid, Himantoglossum robertianum: an extremely rare specimen to find in the Geneva region. (Image: CERN)

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Monkey orchid, Orchis simia, gets its name from the bizarre shape of its labellum, which may remind you of a monkey. (Image: CERN)

Lizard orchid, Himantoglossum hircinum, occurs periodically on the site. It has a rather strong odour, which is why in French it is called orchis bouc (goat orchid). (Image: CERN)