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May 09, 2023
Image caption:
(c) Gabriele Cristiani

For centuries, cairns were part of the rural landscape of the Alps. Stones unearthed by ploughing were collected and piled up on the so-called Lesesteinhaufen or -walls at the edge of the field. Due to the intensification of agriculture, because there is a lack of knowledge about their value or because they are perceived as untidy, they are visibly disappearing from the cultural landscape. Yet these seemingly lifeless, stony elements are valuable habitats for heat-loving animals and plants. Cairns make a valuable contribution to biodiversity and are one of the simplest ways to promote nature in urban areas. This is where the StoneRich project comes in. In six pilot regions in the Alpine region, people are to create cairns at selected sites under guidance. Moreover, budding artists put the spotlight on biodiversity in cairns.

Project goals

  • Creation of habitat for small animals
  • Awareness raising of the dialogue groups
  • Promotion of biodiversity
  • Preservation/restoration of important cultural landscape elements

Dialogue groups

  • Workshops: Young people (pupils, students), representatives of municipalities or regions, associations active in the pilot regions, employees of the building yards of the pilot regions, agricultural actors.
  • Communication products (podcast, articles, final products): CIPRA network and interested people in the Alps.


  • Creation of reading stone piles: Workshops on the construction and signposting of reading stone piles and stone walls - with schoolchildren, municipal employees, actors from agriculture or other groups of people.
  • Local awareness raising: Artistic products (e.g. video, postcards, etc.) in cooperation with art schools/universities.

Spring 2023 to autumn 2024

Project partner

  • 7 pilot regions (municipal administration, school(s), external experts, agricultural actors, local associations, etc.)
  • Art schools

Project languages
German, French, Italian, Slovenian

The project is financed by the Carline Foundation and the Binding Foundation.


Magdalena Holzer, [email protected], +423 237 53 13

Filed under: CIPRA project