About WSL

Short portrait of WSL

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL conducts solution-oriented research on forests, landscapes, biodiversity, natural hazards, and snow and ice in a changing world. As a federal research institute and part of the ETH Domain, it is committed to excellence in research and implementation.

Research for People and the Environment in a changing world

According to the WSL Strategy 2035, WSL focuses on research, knowledge transfer and services relating to forests, landscapes, biodiversity, natural hazards and snow and ice. Its four development priorities build on this expertise in terrestrial environmental research:

  • Consequences of global change: mitigation and adaptation
  • Sustainable urbanization for liveable cities
  • Environmental governance
  • Multifunctional landscapes and ecosystems

The interdisciplinary focus areas are geared towards socially relevant and scientifically promising issues. With them, WSL is making a substantial contribution to overcoming global challenges.


Since its beginnings, the WSL has taken Switzerland's regionality into account. As early as 1888, experimental plots were set up in a wide variety of forests in order to learn more about their (timber) yields. Today, WSL manages and researches more than 6000 experimental and research plots, including large experimental facilities for avalanches or debris flows, experiments on the effects of climate change on forests or areas affected by natural events such as storms or forest fires.

WSL is divided into research units, research programs and centers and supporting specialist units.

WSL is a federal research center, is part of the ETH Domain and employs around six hundred people. In addition to the headquarters in Birmensdorf and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos, branch offices in Lausanne and Cadenazzo since 1991 and in Sion since 1996 promote local synergies and dialog with practitioners.

Address and contact

Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
CH-8903 Birmensdorf
Tel.: +41 44-739 21 11

We are open for calls and visits as follows:
Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 17.00.

Please send your e-mail messages to: