The legal basis for the designation of new parks of national importance in Switzerland is the revised revised Nature and Cultural Heritage Protection Act, which came into force in 2007. Today, there are 20 parks / park projects in Switzerland, which are financially supported by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).
Because of their special status the parks of national importance gain increased importance as reference and preference areas for comparative research of different research topic of national and internationl interest. Swiss Park Research aims to support the parks of national importance and other protection areas (for example, UNESCO World Heritage Sties) in the field of research and to enable their collaboration on priority themes.
Within the parks policy, the Federal Government shall, together with the park authorities, the affected cantons and research funding institutions support coordination of research on parks and cooperation and knowledge transfer of the parks among themselves as well as with parks abroad. The FOEN has mandadet the Academy of Natural Sciences with this coordination task.