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Alps

Economy

Below the snowline is a treeless zone of alpine pastures that have for generations been used for the summer grazing of goats and cattle. Agriculture is confined to the valleys and foothills, with fruit growing and viticulture on some sunny slopes. Hydroelectric power, used for industries in the mountains and in nearby regions, is generated from the many waterfalls and swift-flowing rivers. Tourism, based on the scenic attractions of the Alps and the mountaineering and winter sports they provide, is a major source of income; among the more famous resorts are Chamonix (France); Zermatt, Interlaken, St. Moritz, Davos, and Arosa (Switzerland); Sankt Anton, Innsbruck, Kitzbühel, Salzburg, and Bad Gastein (Austria); Berchtesgaden (Germany); Cortina d'Ampezzo and Bolzano (Italy); and Bled (Slovenia).

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Central European Physical Geography

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