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Department of Geography

Social, Cultural and Environmental Connections

Geography is ideally placed, through its broad range of theoretical and methodological tools, to throw light on the complex connections between the human and natural system. 

Thus, we identify, develop and question ways in which societies and cultures value resources across perspectives ranging from rural livelihoods through biodiversity and water resources to recreation. Our research scales from local to global, and from global to local, in locations as diverse as Tanzania, Afghanistan, Russia and Switzerland.

  • francisco_agua_montana

    Shrinking glaciers and changing water resources entail risks and future options in the Andes of Peru (Picture: C. Huggel)

  • Rice terraces

    Jatiluwih rice terraces in Bali/Indonesia <br/> (Picture: N. Backhaus)

  • Snow melt in the Alps based on satellite time series <br/> (Picture: D. Small)

  • Unregistered vernacular toponyms of Swiss mountains (base map reproduced with permission from the Swiss Federal Office of Topography swisstopo)

  • Reforestestation campaign, Séguénéga, Burkina Faso <br/> (Picture: M. Côte)

  • Field measurements in the Llaca valley, Cordillera Blanca, Peru <br/> (Picture: A. Motschmann)

  • Researchers observing a landslide in the Swiss National Park <br/> (Picture: N. Backhaus)

Weiterführende Informationen

In this cluster we address questions such as ...

How are water supply and demand linked to climate change?


What is the impact of land use on biodiversity and ecosystems?


How are natural resources connected to conflicts and violence?


What words do people use to describe their environment?

How do natural hazards affect local populations and livelihood?

How are protected areas created, perceived and used?

How can we visualize climate change for decision makers?

How can we best mitigate local impacts of climate change?

How does global change affect poor people in the Global South?