Stepantsminda, Kazbegi municipality (c) A. Michel, 2022
Get more in-depth information on our research by checking out our publications! Please contact us for copies of papers with a paywall.

Learn more about mountain research!

We are a group of social scientists doing research in and about mountain regions. We are interested in topics such as sustainable economic development, tourism, migration, socio-political dimensions of nature conservation, and landscape perceptions.



ExtraBox 2 Image

Nature conservation and protected areas

In different research projects we explore socio-economic impacts of protected areas in the Caucasus, the Alps, and beyond. Our interests in conservation processes are diverse:

  • We engage with questions of equity and justice in environmental negotiations and participatory processes.
  • We analyze how landscape perceptions are intertwined with emotions and how these influence values attached to nature.
  • We explore the role of trust in national park expansions and establishment.
  • We want to learn more about human-nature relationships. 

Selected publications:

Salukvadze, G., Gugushvili, T., Dolbaia, T., Salukvadze, J., & Durglishvili, N. (2021). Park-people interaction in mountainous Georgia. Dela (55), 69–86.

Michel, A. H. (2019). How conceptions of equity and justice shape national park negotiations: The case of Parc Adula, Switzerland. eco.mont, 11(1), 25–31.

Michel, A. H., & Backhaus, N. (2019). Unraveling reasons for failed protected areas: Justification regimes and ideas of worth in a Swiss national park project. Environmental Values, 28, 171–190.

Michel, A. H., & Wallner, A. (2020). How can local populations be won over to protected areas? Swiss Academies Factsheets, 15(5).

Michel, A. H., et al. (2021). The Role of Trust in the Participatory Establishment of Protected Areas – Lessons Learnt from a Failed National Park Project in Switzerland. Society & Natural Resources, 35(3), 1–19.


ExtraBox 3 Image

ValPar.CH - Values of the Ecological Infrastructure in Swiss parks

Within this transdisciplinary research project, we assess the social values of the ecological infrastructure (EI) and ecosystem services in regional nature parks in Switzerland. Using a mixed-methods approach, we seek to understand locals' perceptions of landscapes and landscape elements and the meanings attributed to them. Furthermore, we analyze how emotions tied to landscape experiences and practices are connected to underlying values. With go-along interviews, such as transect walks, and researcher-generated photography, we will receive an in-depth understanding of people's relations to landscapes and ecosystems and will be able to understand interlinkages over space and time. Additionally, participatory mapping brings together perceptions, meanings, and emotions with ecological and economic values of EI. 

Learn more about ValPar.CH!


Tagged under
Read 421 times| Last modified on Monday, 17 April 2023 16:19
ImageSeperator 1390px 02 GirlWithCamera

App Downloads & Manual

Download the App of the project for Android or IOS now!
Below you can also find a short App Manual with an overview about the core features:

Android AppStoreBadge 150x45px IOS AppStoreBadge 150x45px

Open App Manual