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SCNAT creates the largest knowledge network on the landscape

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24.01.2019 | SCNAT, edited by Reinhard Lässig |  News WSL


Sprawl, loss of landscape diversity and biodiversity, mountain landscapes marked by climate change: Starting in 2019, the Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT) is merging various of its activities in the new Landscape, Alps, Parks Forum. The goal is to better protect Switzerland's landscapes in collaboration with politics and society and to utilise and manage them more sustainably. This fusion will create the largest knowledge network in Switzerland on natural and cultural landscapes. Designated president is Felix Kienast of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). Furthermore, new presidents are also being appointed in other SCNAT units.


Switzerland's diverse landscapes in urban and natural environments are essential for quality of life, biodiversity and people's identification with their environment. Research and a dialogue between science, practice, politics and society are crucial if landscapes are to be utilized and managed sustainably in the future. "Switzerland is predestined for this dialogue as it plays a leading role in mountain and landscape research," says Felix Kienast. The new inter-academic forum provides an opportunity to promote knowledge about landscapes and landscape-changing processes, and to enhance their value in dialogue with politics and society. The head of the office is Ursula Schüpbach. Further information can be found at

New President of the Biodiversity Forum

Florian Altermatt of the University of Zurich and Eawag is assuming responsibility for the Biodiversity Forum at a crucial moment: In 2019, the World Biodiversity Council IPBES publishes its first global analysis, a milestone in the dialogue on biodiversity. Altermatt’s predecessor, Markus Fischer of the University of Bern, has chaired the Forum since 2011 and led the preparation of the IPBES report on Europe and Central Asia.


New Presidents of the Platforms

The ecologist Christoph Scheidegger from WSL is the new head of the Biology platform. The platform is formed by 17 professional associations of biological research in Switzerland, ranging from systematics to the life sciences. The physicist Ernst Meyer of the University of Basel was elected President of the Platform for Mathematics, Astronomy and Physics with its ten specialist societies and four commissions. Pascal Mäser of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute is the new president of the Natural Sciences and Region platform. Its 29 cantonal and regional societies are strongly committed to dialogue with society.


Forum Landscape, Alps, Parks

The new Forum Landscape, Alps, Parks has emerged from the Interacademic Commission on Alpine Research (ICAS) and its international partner organization International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISCAR), the Research Commission on Protected Areas (Research Commission of the Swiss National Park and Park Research Switzerland) and the Association Forum Landscape. As a unit of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT), the inter-academic forum closely cooperates with the partner institutions of the Swiss Academy of Sciences.


SCNAT – network of knowledge for the benefit of society

The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) and its network of 35 000 experts works at regional, national and international level for the future of science and society. It strengthens the awareness for the sciences as a central pillar
 of cultural and economic development. The breadth of its support makes it a representative partner for politics. The SCNAT links the sciences, provides expertise, promotes the dialogue between science and society, identifies and evaluates scientific developments and lays the foundation for the next generation of natural scientists. It is part of the association of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.