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.
This project aims to understand the transformation of livelihoods linked to tourism development in the Greater Caucasus. The case study in Kazbegi Municipality analyzes tourism development and linkages between the tourism sector and other branches of economy, such as agriculture.
Gugushvili, T., Salukvadze, G., Leonhäuser, I.-U., Durglishvili, N., Pavliashvili, N., Khelashvili, J. et al. (2020). Participatory policy review: “Supportive Tourism” concept for hand-in-hand rural and mountain development. Annals of Agrarian Science, 18, 269–281.
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:
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.
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.