High up in the steep and rocky mountains of the Val d'Anniviers, the Swiss stone pines form the uppermost edge of the forest. At an altitude of 2000 m, they brave the harsh Alpine climate of the Valais with strong winds and cold winters rich in snow. In summer, however, the pines are surrounded by blue gentian and rippling mountain streams, and as soon as the sun warms, their needles exude a wonderfully aromatic perfume.
Accord I: Tough
In spite of its strength and stability, the Swiss stone pine forms important biocoenoses. The nutcracker, a raven-like bird, contributes decisively to the rejuvenation of the Swiss stone pine population. During the summer, it collects thousands of pine seeds and buries them widely over the slopes as a winter supply. Young pines grow from the hiding places forgotten by the nutcracker. So, the fir-jay also provides for the spread at places, where no Arven stood so far, approximately at inaccessible places like rock-ledges or above the tree-line. In addition, spicy, earthy lichens that grow like shrubs on the bark protect the Swiss stone pine from diseases.
A thick blanket of snow lies on the alpine pastures, the branches of the conifers hang from the carried snow load deep towards the ground, the marmots are in hibernation, the migratory birds have flown south. The secluded villages in the Val d'Anniviers are also calm. The evenings are spent in the wooden parlour, where the pleasant, warm and resinous smell of the Swiss stone pine furniture mixes with the smoky note of the fireplace fire.
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