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ANiK: Alpine hazards in times of climate change. Patterns of interpretation and strategies of action from the 18th to the 21st century



The interdisciplinary research project ANiK investigates how society has dealt with natural hazards in the Alpine space during the last centuries. Two main questions are determining the research:

  • How have patterns of interpretation and strategies of action changed since the 18th century?
  • Has the emerging discourse about climate change impacts led to a transformation in alpine hazard management so far?

To answer these questions different disciplines from human and social sciences collaborate within ANiK.

Work package: Policies and practices of natural hazard management in times of climate change

Dealing with natural hazards is essential for Alpine regions. Within the last centuries a variety of management practices and institutional settings for managing natural risks have emerged, leading to the professional natural hazard management we can find in Alpine countries today. Within this workpackage WSL investigates how the emerging discourse about climate change affects both policy development and implementation within the field of natural hazard management. The interlinkages between policy and practice are analyzed in case studies in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Research questions

  • What were factors influencing policy and organizational change within natural hazard management over the past decades?
  • How do professional actors within natural hazard management deal with challenges related to the adaptation to climate change?


Pukall, K., Kruse S. (2014) Entwicklungslinien für das Management alpiner Naturgefahren im Klimawandel. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Forstwesen, 165 (2014) 2: 37–42. [PDF]

Final Conference

The final conference took place 12-13 March2014 in the Congress Center Salzburg. Further Information

WSL project team

Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences:

  • Sylvia Kruse
  • Julia Wesely
  • Irmi Seidl

Other project partners


The project is funded as part of the topic "Social Dimensions of Climate Protection and Climate Change" of the research programme “Social-ecological research” of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.