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Department of Geography Space, Nature and Society

Research Interests

Imaginations and processes of conservation

Sites of nature conservation are shaped by different processes, which are based on people's imaginations, values and justifications. Hence, success and failure of nature conservation (i.e. in protected areas or in working landscapes) depends on a complex web of interrelated and often contradicting practices. We analyse these aspects in different social and geographical contexts and from different angles in order to better understand the workings of conservation as an organising concept, a set of values and ideas, and as an institution.

Please have a look at our fact sheet for protected areas by Annina Michel and Astrid Wallner, get insights why Parc Adula failed, and read about our conservation research in the GIUZ anniversary blog.

Our group is participating in the University Priority Program Biodiversity and Global Change with several projects. For more information please see URPP GCB's webpage.

And also have a look at the research group Landscape and Conservation Social Sciences led by Annina Michel.

Landscape perception and production

Landscapes can be regarded as an interface between human actions and natural processeses. People and societies shape and identify with landscapes and benefit from what could be called "landscape services" (see also our GIUZ anniversary blog entry and film). Often they are taken for granted until noticeable changes are announced or happening and debates about landscape development emerge. With our research we want to contribute to a better appreciation of landscapes as well as to their sustainable development. We do so with a transdisciplinary approach, i.e. by collaborating with different landscape stakeholders  as well as interdisciplinary collaboration, i.e., with philosophy, physical geography, and ecology.

Our group is currently involved in the project "Values of the ecological infrastructure in Swiss parks" ( in collaboration with four other Swiss universities. For more information and a newsletter please have a look at the webpage.

Young people's geographies and education

Itta Bauer and Sara Landolt are, associated scientist to SNS unit and lead their own group on Geographies of Young People and Education. As human geographers they are particularly interested in young people’s geographies. Thematically, they do qualitative research in the fields of educational transitions, migration and urban nightlife. Their latest research project focuses on critical studies of school, education and learning in Switzerland, which comprehends the reproduction of social inequalities and increasing marketization of education by studying the highly selective processes inherent in school transitions.

Weiterführende Informationen


Interdisciplinary research on the benefits and added values of ecological infrastructure (EI) in parks of national importance.

More information:


University Priority Program Global Change and Biodiversity

Biodiversity is both, a response variable affected by global change drivers and a factor modifying ecosystem processes and services that are essential to human well-being. 

More information: URPP GCB

Landscape services and basic landscape knowledge

Two new websites explain the under­standing of „landscape services“, lists re­commen­dations and good practice examples especially for teachers (Landschaftswissen).