Lavaux has been shaped by man for centuries and its natural elements were strongly affected. The nature of Lavaux consists of remnants of vegetation and of flora and fauna which have managed to survive and adapt themselves to mankind’s interventions. Nevertheless, these remnants remain interesting.
Planting of the vineyards destroyed an entire array of natural vegetation including a diverse flora containing a number of rare species. The botanists of the 19th Century were nevertheless still able to observe the presence of anemones of narcissus, seed of the earth bunium and common gladiolus. Current botanical observations provide evidence of a substantial change in the flora. Current flora still contains some ancient elements within substitution biotopes, uncultivated landscapes or walls which are now beginning to disappear. Most of the species that remain are fairly common as the rarer specimens from the 19th Century are now extinct.
The Strong Presence of Reptiles
As for local fauna, several different species live in Lavaux. The majority consist of insects, molluscs and other worms that are food for vertebrates such as deer, chamois, foxes, stone martens, badgers, stoats and the “bruant zizi”, rare Swiss bird. Among all these Lavaux animals, of which 6 species are batrachians, reptiles are by far the most interesting and original specimens. Eleven species were counted such as slowworms, aspic vipers, four lizards including green lizards and five grass snakes including grass snakes. Lavaux plays a crucial role in the conservation of certain rare species of reptiles and amphibians.
Source : MORET, Jean-Louis, SARTORI, Michel, « Botanique et zoologie », in Lavaux, Vignoble en terrasses face au lac et aux Alpes, Lavaux World Heritage Site Application File for UNESCO, Cully, January 2006, pp. 57-64.