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The landscape provides habitats for diverse flora and fauna and benefits people in many ways. We study the interactions between landscape, humans and biodiversity and develop decision-making bases for sustainable use of the landscape.


Landscapes have a cultural significance for people. They provide habitats for animals, plants and many other organisms. And from an economic point of view, the landscape is a resource, for example for tourism or energy production. Landscapes thus have social, ecological and economic aspects. People, landscape and ecosystems have a reciprocal relationship. We study these interactions and relationships.

The landscape is constantly changing, with consequences for biodiversity and human quality of life. Thanks to comprehensive monitoring, we can recognise and document these changes, both on small and large scales, regardless of whether they proceed quickly or slowly. Thus, we contribute to an early warning system for the benefit of the landscape, and we develop important decision-making bases for government and communities. These can be used, for example, to create landscapes that meet human needs while protecting the environment.

Pooling Knowledge

Landscape research deals with complex topics which require diverse methods, approaches and experiences. An interdisciplinary approach that integrates natural, social and economic sciences is necessary. The Landscape Centre pools the competences of the WSL, while providing an interface for partners such as the federal authorities, cantonal and municipal administrations and non-governmental organisations. The exchange with stakeholders in the field ensures that our research not only serves the purpose of gaining scientific insights, but also provides a benefit to the community and the government.


Focus Areas

Energy potential in the Swiss Alps

We are investigating the necessary quantities of the resources required for the shift to renewables and the potential impact of their use.

Climate Change: Research at the WSL

 We are investigating how climate change will affect forests, water resources, renewable energies and people.

Trockenwiese. Bild: Ariel Bergamini, WSL

Conservation biology and nature reserves

We provide the scientific basis for protecting endangered species and monitoring the quality of habitats. For nature reserves, we research the social...

Forest and society

Society has various demands on the Swiss forests. We develop methods for sustainable forest use.

WSL Landscape Center

The Landscape Centre pools the landscape research expertise and ensures that the research results are available to all stakeholders.

Economic valuation of landscapes

How can the impacts of nature and landscape on society be measured and valued? We address these questions with scientific methods.



Our country has abundant renewable energy resources: but how can - and will - they be used? Find out in the new DIAGONAL magazine.

The landscape belongs to everyone. To keep it that way, fresh ideas are needed in planning. See examples in the new DIAGONAL magazine.

New biodiversity maps of Zurich show a high level of biodiversity, with many animal species even resident in the city centre.

WSL's first hiking guide allows users to discover Valais on foot while learning about research into forests, climate history and avalanches.