Agriculture, Landscape

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Zelg Landscape

Obere Zelg Erschmatt, 1950er-Jahre

Obere Zelg Erschmatt, 1950er-Jahre © Budmiger

When Erschmatt farmers worked the land here they would continually dig up stones which they piled at the edge of their fields. Ploughing and hoeing would gradually send this all down towards the valley. Eventually terraces formed of dry stone walls and earthen embankments that became typical of the landscape. In Erschmatt most of these terraces can be found in troughs that formed in the slope. More (in German)

Erschmatt’s rye fields is known as the Zelg (allotment). “Zelg systems are land utilization systems under which the agricultural terrain of a settlement is divided in large regions, known as Zelgs. Each Zelg unites parcels of several owners and is planted with the same product. Because the property was not enclosed by paths, the village inhabitants had to cooperate in its management” (from the Historic Dictionary of Switzerland). More (in German)