Logo IMC 2019


General Topic I – Drivers and Processes

Specific Topic 1.1: Climatic changes in Mountain regions

Workshop 1.1.A: Climate information for impact modeling

Moderators: Mathias Rotach (Chair), Stefan DeWekker

When assessing the impact of climate change on natural or anthropogenic systems (ranging from agriculture over energy production (solar, hydro) or demand to urban or regional planning), typically a physical (biological, chemical) impact model (IM) with atmospheric data as input is employed. The latter typically stem from observations when devising the IM, and are extracted from atmospheric models (weather, climate) in the application.

The spatial resolution of regional climate models (order 10 km in the horizontal) is still – and for the foreseeable future - too coarse to represent the scales of interest in mountainous terrain. Over a horizontal distance of 10 km, a mountain peak as well as a valley floor location may be found – thus making it difficult to extract relevant information form a ‘grid box’ of a climate model. This may concern both, an IM to assess snow availability at the mountain-top site for purposes of planning ski tourism or an IM to assess run-off for the planning of hydro power in the valley. A number of different down-scaling approaches have been proposed in the past (statistical, dynamical, mixtures thereof), which all suffer from the problem that either the information can be obtained at one particular point (where an observation is available), but not anywhere else in the vicinity – or the information is available from high-resolution dynamical downscaling, thus having, in principle, a different topography and likely not a long enough time period covered. IMs, therefore, always suffer from the problem that they must be run (i.e., trained/validated for the present climate, applied for climate scenarios) with meteorological input parameters, which are highly uncertain at best, but possibly not representative for the conditions at the location they are used.

The goals of this workshop are to (i) bring together the expectations/needs of the IM modelers with the ‘offers’ of the regional climate modelers (ii) to identify areas of largest uncertainties and greatest needs and hence the areas of most relevant research needs, and possible solution pathways to the dilemma outlined above. The target audience of this workshop are IM modelers of all kinds on the one hand and scientists with experience in (regional) climate modeling.

Workshop 1.1.B: Climate modeling in Mountain regions

Moderators: Fabien Maussion (Chair), N.N. (new acinn Pos.), (Christoph Schär)

Although highly relevant for society and planning, climate projections in mountainous regions are still highly uncertain. The overarching goal of this workshop will be to identify and discuss the main factors behind these uncertainties and propose innovative ways forward in order to reduce them. We welcome contributions from global and regional atmospheric modellers from all backgrounds, including but not limited to: (i) development and testing of model parameterisations in complex terrain, (ii) numerical and computational challenges of (very-) high-resolution modelling, (iii) model validation in data-scarce regions, (iv) model intercomparison experiments (e.g. CORDEX, CMIP…), (v) application and development of models of intermediate complexity in mountain regions.


By focussung on the development and application of climate and atmospheric models, this workshop is complementary to the companion workshops 1.1.A (“Climate information for impact modeling”) and 1.1.C (“Past climate change – proxies and modeling”).

Workshop 1.1.C: Past climate change – proxies and modeling

Moderators: Kurt Nicolussi (Chair), Fabien Maussion

Mountain regions are exceptional areas for research on the past climate. A variety of climate proxys from different climate archives, e.g. mountain glaciers and treelines, are available and allow multi-proxy comparisons on a regional scale. Another emerging approach for studying past climate variability is climate modelling at millennial and longer timescales. However, model output for the past is usually temporally limited to the recent past or of low resolution if longer timescales are investigated. Both approaches are necessary to define the current state of climate in relation to past conditions. In this workshop we will focus on the actual state of i) (multi-)proxy results from mountain regions as well as for ii) model output for such areas. We want to address iii) how proxy analyses and model development can interact, e.g. filling temporal gaps and seasonal underrepresentation in proxy records.


Question 1: How well can (multi-)proxy reconstructions from mountain areas define the current climatic change in relation to the past ?

Question 2: What is the actual state of proxy-model comparisons and interactions regarding mountain areas?

Question 3: How well can the coarse resolution climate models simulate regional amplification effects in mountain areas (e.g. the Little Ice Age)?

Workshop 1.1.D: Climate change in Mountain regions: Bringing together methodologies and knowledge systems

Moderators: Martina Neuburger (Chair), Julia Klein, Marisol de la Cadena, Jeffrey McKenzie, Wolfgang Gurgiser

Climate change in mountain regions is widely discussed in science and society. Natural scientists are analyzing drivers and dynamics of meteorological phenomena as well as impacts on mountain hydro- and ecosystems. Social scientists explore the impacts of climate change on economic sectors like agriculture, industry and energy as well as societal reactions and strategies to deal with upcoming challenges in form of mitigation and adaptation. Due to the complexity and interdependencies of these dynamics in mountain regions, several scientific approaches intend to integrate natural and societal processes while most of these studies do not consider (traditional) local knowledge in its specific socio-cultural context or do not recognize climate change research as part of the discourse that shape political decision making processes. Thus, “misunderstandings” between natural and social scientist, local worldviews and political arguments or mismatches between human perceptions and scientific observations might stem from different methodologies and knowledge systems.

The aim of our workshop is

  • to discuss ways for linking qualitative with quantitative information, different spatiotemporal scales and different knowledge systems (e.g. understandings of representativeness, handling of uncertainty and significance etc.),
  • to better understand differences in human perceptions, societal/political responses and scientific observations/perspectives.

Theoretical approaches, methodological concepts and case studies are welcome.


Question 1: Which sources of information and data should integrated in analyses and how can information be merged?

Question 2: What are typical reasons for mismatches in scientific observations/perspectives, human perceptions and societal/political responses?

Specific Topic 1.2: Land-atmosphere interactions in Mountain regions

Workshop 1.2.A: Challenges in Quantifying and Simulating the Land-Atmosphere Exchange in Mountain regions

Moderators: Georg Wohlfahrt (Chair), Mathias Rotach, Marta Galvagno

Mountain areas represent a number of challenges for quantifying and simulating their land-atmosphere exchange of mass, energy and momentum. First, mountain areas are characterized by rapid changes in ecosystem structure and function driven by changes in climate and land use along with elevation. Second, the topographic features of mountain areas induce modifications to atmospheric flows and exchange processes which preclude theoretical frameworks developed for horizontally flat homogeneous terrain to be applied with confidence. Third, the local near-surface atmospheric flows strongly interact with the meso-scale ‘mountain boundary layer’ thus further challenging the usually applied up- and downscaling approaches. The resulting uncertainties limit our ability to project land-atmosphere interactions in mountain areas under changing future climate and land use.

The goals of this workshop are to (i) discuss the state of the art with regard to land-atmosphere interactions in mountain areas and the associated uncertainties and (ii) to identify priorities for future research aiming at reducing the most prominent of the uncertainties. The target audience of this workshop are scientists in the fields of atmospheric sciences, environmental sciences, hydrology and related fields interested in the land-atmosphere exchange of mountain areas. We welcome both experimental and modelling studies, and in particular a combination of both.

Specific Topic 1.3: Socio cultural and economic drivers

Workshop 1.3.A: New recources frontiers in Mountain regions - Challenges for the Global South

Moderators: Martin Coy (Chair), Fernando Ruiz Peyré

From 2000 onwards, soaring commodity prices and the unrestricted proliferation of extractive activities have caused significant spatial, political and socio-economic consequences in producer countries with large extractive economies. In this context, new resource frontiers (new areas of resource extraction) emerged in many mountain regions in the Global South, causing socio-economic, socio-ecological, as well as territorial challenges. In general, resource frontiers follow internal logics of extractive economies and are subordinated to the rules of globalization (e.g. by the incorporation in in global commodity chains). The aim of the workshop is to compare “resource stories” from different socio-cultural and ecological contexts in order to understand the multidimensional and contradictory character of resource extraction and to evaluate possible transitions towards a sustainability-oriented transformation.


Question 1: What are the specific conditions for the emergence and incorporation of resource frontiers in mountain regions in the Global South under the conditions of Global Change?

Question 2: What are the resulting challenges for socio-ecological transformations?

This workshop connects different regional, historical, socio-economic and socio-ecological perspectives in interdisciplinary research of extractive economies in mountain regions.

Specific Topic 1.4. Human environmental and social interactions in alpine landscapes - the paleo-perspective

Workshop 1.4.A: Mining the mountains – impact on environment and human societies

Moderators: Gert Goldenberg (Chair), Peter Tropper

The exploitation of mineral resources is one of the ancestral productions of mankind. Ethnographic and archaeological models assume that in the early stages this production consisted both of systematic exploitation and a noticeable social and ritual component for the implementing societies. Later basic revolutions emanating from big settlements and innovations on agriculture brought about a capacity-orientated production (copper, salt …) and the pyrotechnical progresses in smelting enabled systematic exploitation of available ore deposits. Therefore prehistoric and historic mining activities left profound effects on landscape, vegetation and environment due to the huge demand on raw materials as well as the supply of food for the maintenance of the miner communities. Since the 4th millennium BC metallurgy spread to Europe initially rather as a social principle than a technological one and hence a first period of metallurgy (Pfyn/Altheim/Mondsee) ends without consequences on culture. In the late 3rd millennium metallurgy was influenced by a south-eastern technological tradition and new concepts of metal supply were established. From then on copper and copper alloys (bronze) became the ubiquitous basic commodity. The ore deposits in the Eastern Alps are usually small and contain a variety of different sulfide minerals, which led to complex technologies (e. g. underground mining, smelting of sulfur-bearing ores) and thus the conformity in mining, beneficiation and smelting required an extensive level of communication and economy within different societies (e. g. logistic concepts, exchange of experts, transhumance). The important economic, social and environmental impacts caused by the exploitation of mineral resources during the metal Ages intensified in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: What do we know about prehistoric and historic mining and metallurgy in the Alps and their influence on society and environment?


This workshop connects to the workshop themes of “Socio-cultural and economic drivers (workshop 1.3.A) as well as “Cultural ecosystem services – conflicts and limits” (workshop 2.1.B).

Workshop 1.4.B: Mountain trails, trade routes & migration

Moderators: Michael Meyer (Chair), Ulrike Töchterle

Prehistoric life in mountainous regions is often regarded as challenging due to altitude related temperature decline and air-thinning, declining habitat productivity and increasing fragmentation of ecotones. At the other hand, mountainous regions are known to be hot spots of biodiversity and provide a wide range of niches for species and species diversity, due to topographic-climate interactions and because mountains can host climatically different life zones over short elevation distances. Mountain regions also provide fresh water, raw materials for stone tools or metallurgy and other resources important for prehistoric societies such as salt or wood, hence are of supra-regional importance. Furthermore, mountains favour the development of gateway communities.

Motivation for human migration into mountain environments was constantly changing through time, depending on the overall climatic and environmental conditions and the socio-economic developments in the adjacent lowlands. Mountains might have offered attractive living places or even refugia to prehistoric people during certain times and climates of the past; ore, salt and other resources might have attracted people regionally facilitating social development; mountain passes funnelled trade and migration. Today numerous methods are available including archaeological, archaeobotanical, ethnological, isotopic, genetic and modelling approaches to investigate human migration and trace prehistoric pathways in alpine settings. This workshop focuses on the various methods and advances in documenting and understanding human migration in mountainous regions such as the European Alps and other (high) alpine settings.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: Why, how and when do humans explore mountain landscapes and what are the geological, climatic and ecological consequences and/or constraints.

Question 2: How do migration patterns, mountain trails and trade route networks get established and change through time and what are the socioeconomic consequences if any?


This workshop connects to themes of climatic changes in mountain regions (specific topic 1.1), terrestrial mountain ecosystems under changing climate (specific topic 1.3). and socio-ecologic resilience of agri-food systems in mountain regions (specific topic 3.3).

Workshop 1.4.C: Subsistence strategies for Mountain regions

Moderators: Klaus Oeggl (Chair), Barbara Stopp

Mountain regions seem to be hostile for human habitation. Nonetheless, peopling of temperate mountains is well known since the Epigravettian at the latest. In this initial phase the procurement of raw materials and hunting plaid a decisive role. Later, the introduction of metallurgy resulted in sustainable socio-economic changes in prehistoric Central Europe. As in other regions, also in the Alps, prehistoric mining induced population growth and a higher societal stratification. Without doubt these socio-economic changes must have had substantial implications for subsistence regimes. Since then agriculture had to generate surpluses to supply societies based on division of labour with consumer goods and working materials. Given the restricted farming techniques and agricultural areas in mountain regions this demanded innovations and changes in subsistence strategies until today.

This session aims to bring together scholars of a range of bio-archaeological disciplines investigating dietary habits and food supply of past mountain people encompassing foragers as well as farming societies on a global scale since the Palaeolithic up to the early modern period. Basic questions are to differentiate between producer and consumer sites to gain a better understanding of how populations were organised in terms of labour division and subsistence strategies in mountain areas.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: How did past climate modulate subsistence regimes in mountain areas? Did human activities provoke and exacerbate ecological consequences?

Question 2: What were the implications on peopling and cultures of mountain areas?


This workshop connects to the themes of terrestrial mountain ecosystems under changing climate (workshop 1.3) and socio-ecologic resilience of agri-food systems in mountain regions (workshop 3.3).

General Topic II - Consequences

Specific Topic 2.1: Ecosystem services from Mountain regions

Workshop 2.1.A: Communicating Ecosystem Services from Mountains

Moderators: Johannes Rüdisser (Chair), Stefan Marzelli, Georg Leitinger

Ecosystem services describe goods and benefits humans receive from ecosystems. The ecosystem service framework, which focuses on the interface between ecosystems and the society, not only stimulates interdisciplinary research, but is also an advantageous concept to build support for environmental conservation and to promote the societal relevance of intact ecosystems. Although the ecosystem service concept gained some attention following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, public awareness about ecosystem services is still very limited. An increasing number of applications show that well designed ecosystem service indicators can be a useful tool to facilitate the understanding of highly complex human-environmental systems. In this inter- and transdisciplinary session, we focus on new and innovative communication approaches to disseminate the ecosystem service concept in general, and distinct ecosystem services in specific. Application can range from science communication tools to new indicators or indicator frameworks addressing specific stakeholders or the public.


Question 1: How can we foster public awareness and understanding for ecosystem services?

Question 2: How can ecosystem service assessment support the development and execution of sustainable policies and environmental conservation strategies?


This workshop connects themes of socio-ecological research, mountain ecosystems, ecosystem services and adaptation strategies.

Workshop 2.1.B: Cultural ecosystem services – conflicts and limits

Moderators: Uta Schirpke (Chair), Rocco Scolozzi

Mountain areas are highly important for the provision of cultural ecosystem services (CES), offering for example many recreational opportunities, aesthetic landscape enjoyment, and inspiration to both local populations and their visitors. Whereas the use of CES in remote mountain areas was often limited in accessibility, today many areas are becoming more and more accessible to outdoor sports (e.g. downhill-mountain biking, canyoning, free-climbing). In many locations, these activities are facilitated by artefacts or infrastructures (e.g. bike trails, cableways), resulting that CES can be impacted by growing user frequency. This increase may cause conflicts among different types of users and may affect mountain agriculture and biodiversity conservation.

To assure the benefits derived from the mountain landscape on the long-term, landscape management should evaluate and consider thresholds and limitations of use, frequency, and accessibility in qualitative, quantitative and spatial terms. Experiences in dealing with such complex issues are rare and applicable methods are still under development. To facilitate a better and shared understanding, this workshop aims at identifying and discussing approaches to define limits in use, accessibility, and disturbance on CES. It will further analyze approaches and instruments that can support the management of CES.

We welcome contributions related to the assessment and evaluation of CES in mountain regions, approaches to identify conflicts, limits of sustainable use, and consequences of use as well as examples on how to successfully manage local impacts and disturbances.

After the workshop, we aim to discuss a potential paper on conflicts and limits in the use of CES with selected authors.


Question 1: How can we define conflicts and limits related to CES in mountain regions?

Question 2: How can we assess these conflicts and limits?

Question 3: What can we learn from successful management experiences?

This workshop connects themes of socio-ecological research, assessing and mapping cultural ecosystem services, sustainable development.

Workshop 2.1.C: Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Sites as monitoring networks - opportunities and challenges

Moderators: Ulrike Tappeiner (Chair), Georg Niedrist, Eva Spehn, Thomas Spiegelberger

Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites and LTSER (Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research) platforms are a global network meant to deliver scientific expertise on our ecosystems and environment, as well as for the modelling of future scenarios and the development of management strategies facing severe global changes and mountain ecosystems are seen to be particularly sensitive to these changes.

A key aspect of LTER is the provision of long-term data and information for a better understanding of ecosystems and their ability to provide ecosystem services we depend on. As data and metadata are managed by sites and platforms individually and because there are many different data owners, careful consideration on data management is highly important. This includes: Data assessment (e.g. the usage of standardized protocols for basic measurements, minimum equipment etc.), data storage systems (e.g. DEIMS), used data formats, data quality assurance, as well as a joint data sharing policy. Within the LTER community, used methods for long-term data management and data sharing are under constant refinement.

This workshop session will explore used data management strategies within the LTER community and their contribution to mountain ecosystem service assessment.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: How can/do LTER sites and LTSER platforms contribute to mountain ecosystem service assessment?

Question 2: How can data quality in a global network, such as LTER, be assured in order to be used, worked with and shared between different sites and platforms for scientific research/investigations?


This workshop connects themes of monitoring networks, data management, socio-ecological research, mountain ecosystems and ecosystem services.

Workshop 2.1.D: How will mountain agriculture respond to decreased water availability in the face of climate change?

Moderators: Jay Frentress (Chair), Francesca Scandellari

Elevated temperature and alterations to the temporal pattern of precipitation due to climate change are likely to modify the functioning of mountainous agricultural ecosystems. Specifically, increased water demand is expected due to higher evapotranspiration while, simultaneously, water sources are expected to shrink or to become less predictable throughout the seasons. Particularly, extreme events of precipitation will intensify, glaciers will contract and snowpack will become thinner. For mountain agriculture to be prepared, it is necessary to act on several fronts including, among others, new or improved irrigation techniques, cultivars with higher water use efficiency, and more appropriate soil management. Furthermore, natural ranges for mountain agricultural products are typically limited by temperature restrictions due to elevation. As the climate warms, potentially greater land area may become available for agricultural production leading to potential conflicts over land and water use.

We seek and solicit contributions from research on the use of water in mountain agricultural ecosystems and on how these systems may be impacted by climate change. This workshop session will explore current research addressing water use and management within mountain agricultural systems.

After the workshop, a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: How can agricultural management practices moderate climate change effects on water demand and availability in mountain agroecosystems?

Question 2: What ecohydrological processes require further experimental quantification?


This workshop connects themes of agricultural management, socio-ecological research, mountain ecosystems and ecosystem services.

Specific Topic 2.2: Terrestrial mountain ecosystems under changing climate

Workshop 2.2.A: The future of mountain forests

Moderators: Stefan Mayr (Chair), Michael Bahn, Maaike Bader, Frida Piper

Climate change will pose multifold challenges to mountain forests. Changes in precipitation and temperature regimes as well as more frequent and intense climate extremes will influence mountain forests directly (e.g. drought-induced dieback, increasing frequency of forest fires, reduction in frost resistance, rising of the timberline) and indirectly (e.g. bark beetle calamities, pathogens, wind blasts), and intensively managed forests at lower elevation as well as high elevation protective forests.

Mountain forests provide numerous important ecosystem-services, with protective functions being most important. Tree stands at higher elevation prevent erosion and avalanches, and thus are the prerequisite for settlements at lower sites. Up to the timberline, not only the protective role of forests increases but also expected climatic changes, which will amplify local and regional effects of resulting changes in mountain forests. As knowledge of tree life and forest ecosystems in mountain regions is still limited, further research on the responses of mountain forests to a future and on their sustainable management is urgently needed.

Question 1: How will changes in climatic parameters and their complex interrelation affect mountain forests, and how will changes in vitality, structure, composition etc. of mountain forests influence their functions?

Question 2: Which direct/indirect and primary/secondary effects will cause relevant damages or dieback with respect to spatial and temporal scales?

Question 3: Which counter strategies can help to overcome negative effects induced by climate change?

Workshop 2.2.B: Mountain grasslands under global change

Moderators: Michael Bahn (Chair), Richard Bardgett, Paul Illmer, Sandra Lavorel, Stefan Mayr

Grasslands are an important component of mountain landscapes. They are a common ecosystem type above the treeline. In many mountain regions, subalpine and montane grasslands were created by humans to support livestock and thus human livelihood. Over the recent decades mountain grasslands have been exposed to significant changes in land use and climate. Land-use changes have involved intensification, conversions from hay meadows to pastures and, most frequently, complete abandonment of grasslands. Climate warming has been particularly pronounced in many mountain regions, and in the coming decades is expected to cause changes in snow cover patterns and favour the occurrence of severe droughts.

Individually and collectively, these global changes may affect mountain grasslands on multiple levels and scales. They may lead to changes in the vegetation and biogeochemical cycles, with downstream consequences for productivity, nutrient cycling, greenhouse gas emissions and water yield. In this workshop we will explore the mechanisms underlying grassland responses to global changes and identify consequences for grassland functioning.


Question 1: How do changes in climate, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, nitrogen deposition and land-use alter the productivity and biogeochemical cycles of mountain grasslands?

Question 2: How do plants and plant-soil interactions respond to these global changes and what are the consequences for ecosystem processes?

Question 3: What generalized conclusions can be drawn on grassland responses to global changes across mountains globally?

Specific Topic 2.3: Mountain cryosphere and hydrosphere

Workshop 2.3.A: Mountain socio-hydrology in a changing climate

Moderators: Thomas Marke (Chair), Gabriele Chiognia, Ulrich Strasser, Kristian Förster

Socio-hydrology represents an innovative concept for understanding interactions in coupled human–water systems and supporting integrated and sustainable water management. Mountain regions play a fundamental role for water provisioning and spatiotemporal changes in precipitation and temperature patterns are expected to severely affect both the timing and the amount of water available for human activities. The workshop "Mountain (socio-)hydrology in a changing climate" discusses different aspects of climate change impacts on water resources in mountain regions with emphasis on feedbacks between social and hydrological processes. Examples of such bidirectional interactions in human-water systems cover topics related to agricultural and energy production, tourism or forest management.

With this workshop we aim at fostering the international discussion on climate change impacts on mountain water resources with focus on the interplay of water and humans. Contributions (submitted from scientists from both natural and social sciences) promoting new insights and discussing new findings in the context of existing knowledge in the field are very welcome.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: How do climate change effects on mountain water resources compare to the influence of the human dimension?

Question 2: Which human activities enhance the effects of climate change on water resources in mountain regions? And which human activities moderate them?

 This workshop connects to the workshops “Consequences of climate change for the cryosphere”, “Distal impact of change in mountain regions” as well as “Flows and sediments in Alpine catchments”.

Workshop 2.3.B: Consequences of climate change for the cryosphere

Moderators: Lindsey Nicholson (Chair), Christian Huggel, Fabien Maussion

 Changes in the mountain cryosphere are one of the more visible indications of changing mountain conditions. In this workshop session we will consider the current state of knowledge of how mountain snow, glaciers and permafrost are changing, and expected to change in the future, based on observations and model projections. We are interested in changes in: (i) amounts, extents, properties, seasonality and duration of snowfall, (ii) glacier mass, runoff geometry and behaviour, and (iii) extent and seasonality of frozen ground. As the core of this workshop we will discuss the reliability of this field and model data and identify critical remaining unknowns for the coming century. Further discussion will focus on examples of how the changing cryosphere is expected to impact other earth system components, ecosystems and human socio-economic activities in the mountain environment.

We welcome contributions based on data of cryospheric change, and/or the impacts of cryospheric change, from mountains around the world. We may focus on some key locations and examples depending on the nature of the contributions received.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:

Question 1: How well do we know what will happen to snow, glaciers and permafrost in the coming century across the mountains of the world?


This workshop connects to themes of local and distal hydrological impacts, mountain ecosystem change and changing mountain sediment fluxes and hazards.

Workshop 2.3.C: Lakes in mountain regions as integrative landscape elements: ecosystem services and threats

Moderators: Rainer Kurmayer (Chair), Michael Strasser, Josef Wanzenböck

Due to their rather pristine nature the lakes in the European Alps are considered most valuable. Various integrated environmental pressures in the past affected key biota and ecosystem ecological function and in consequence the provision of ecosystem services (ES). One prominent example is the impressive reoligotrophication process after severe eutrophication during the 1970-1980ies but resulting in an overall decrease in fisheries yield two decades later.

This workshop aims to summarize,

(1) the variability of the lakes’ key biota response to anthropogenic resource use (i.e. ecological and evolutionary responses under anthropogenic stressors);

(2) the long-term variability and resistance as inferred from lake sediments as archives for reconstruction of long-term geologic and tectonic processes and paleo-environmental and paleo-climatic changes.

(3) Changes and use of alpine lake ecosystems and the evaluation of ES in dependence on ecosystem resistance and resilience. The synthesis should aim to describe the stability of ES provided under the general scenario of climate change and more intense use within the near future.

Workshop 2.3.D: Teleconnections of climate change in Mountain regions

Moderators: Kristin Richter (Chair), Ben Marzeion

The impacts of cryospheric and hydrological change in mountain regions can extend well beyond the mountain range itself.

The approach and passage of peak water discharge from changing mountain glaciers fundamentally alters the downstream hydrological contributions of mountain regions, and establishing the timing of peak water in the global mountains is valuable in longer term planning perspectives.

Conditions in mountains control the headwater discharge of rivers that provide for large populations downstream, and especially in arid basins runoff from the mountain cryosphere constitutes a vital baseflow during the driest seasons. In addition, receding mountain glaciers are the second largest contribution to current sea level rise, whose impacts are felt in distal coastal regions.

This workshop session explores the distal consequences of changes in the mountain hydrosphere and cryosphere by first assessing the state of current understanding of these processes, discussing locations where the mountains are particularly important for distal impacts, and finally discussing the case of such distal effects as an illustrative example of how localized environmental changes have transnational and global impacts.

After the workshop a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:

Question 1: How important are changes in mountain hydrological regimes to downstream hydrological issues in comparison to other factors such as changing downstream population, land and water usage?

Question 2: How important is mid-latitude mountain cryospheric change to regional and global sea level rise?


This workshop connects to themes of the changing mountain cryosphere, socio-hydrology and global adaptation to change.

Workshop 2.3.E: Flows and sediments in mountain catchments

Moderators: Markus Aufleger (Chair), Bernhard Gems, Stefan Achleitner, Francesco Comiti

Flows characterize the shape of landscape in mountain areas worldwide. Amongst, they provide an enormous diversity of habitats, are used for leisure activities, allow production of renewable energy and, by contrast, they represent a substantial threat to settlements by means of fluvial hazards. In all aspects, mobilisation, transport and deposition of sediments play a crucial role. Long-term, mean erosion rates at the catchment scale, transport mechanisms or rather the influence of sediment availability on transport are important issues of current research in mountain regions. Here the influences of topographic, climatic and geological conditions and as well the spatio-temporal variability of flows and sediment transport and erosion processes are of major importance. With specific regard to the design of structural measures for hydropower use and flood protection, ecological aspects dealing with sediment continuity became increasingly important in the recent past.

With the focus mainly on bed-load and suspended sediments, this workshop is aimed to focus on the recent and potential future trends of flows and sediment yields in mountain regions worldwide. Changing climate conditions impacting its spatio-temporal characteristics on the local and regional scale are discussed. Secondly, the need of preserving sediment continuity at specific conditions and spots in the rivers, potential conflicts with economic objectives and flood protection aims are discussed. In this context, smart and integral structural and river engineering solutions are also highlighted.


Question 1: Do we need to force observation of sediment dynamics in mountain regions and further enhance measurement techniques?

Question 2: Is there a relevant change in sediment dynamics in mountain regions expected due to climate change impacts in the next decades?

Question 3: Do we need to spend more effort in restoring and sustaining sediment continuity in mountain rivers?


This workshop connects to themes of natural hazards modelling, vulnerabilities and risks, interaction of dams and torrent controls with fluvial processes, climate change impacts on catchments hydrology and mountain lakes analyses.

Specific Topic 2.4: Mountain Hazards and risks

Workshop 2.4.A: Remote sensing techniques and data for natural hazard research

Moderators: Martin Rutzinger (Chair), Bernhard Höfle, Roderik Lindenbergh

Natural hazards processes occurring in mountain areas endanger human living and effect regions, which are already limited by their spatial resources. Many of them are interlinked by hydrological conditions, geomorphological and geological processes interacting with vegetation. Such hazards are for example shallow and deep-seated landslides, hillslope erosion, and rock fall. Vegetation may act as stabilisation factor by the contribution of root tensile strength but also by influencing hydrological soil conditions after rainfall. Anthopogenic processes such as land use change and infrastructure development at susceptible areas may strongly impact on hazardous processes. This session will present Earth Observation techniques for automated quantification of surface changes, monitoring and modelling of such natural hazards and related processes. Contributions working with satellite and airborne sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, geosensor networks and terrestrial static and moving platforms including robotics are welcome.


Question 1: Will artificial intelligence and robotics boost or limit Natural Hazard Research in mountain areas?

Question 2: What 3D and 4D remote sensing data is available or missing for Natural Hazard Research in mountain areas?

Workshop 2.4.B: Snow and avalanches: Uncertainty in model chains - from precipitation to avalanche impacts

Moderators: Jan-Thomas Fischer (Chair), Ingrid Reiweger, Betty Sovilla, Johan Gaume, Jim McElwaine

The main consequence of snow and avalanche related hazards is the impact on lives, material assets and monetary loss. As the most important prerequisite for avalanches is snow, the processes which need to be taken into account to assess avalanche hazard and risk, start with precipitation and end with potential damages. Incorporating all related processes into one analysis requires a chain of different models and simulation tools. For these model chains, establishing the connections between output data of one model element and input data for the consecutive model element remains challenging. The starting point is meteorological modelling. The output data of meteorological models is fed into snow cover models which give an estimate of snow height and snow stratigraphy. The output data of snow-cover models serves again as input data for avalanche simulation models. The avalanche simulations further allow calculating the time evolution of avalanche flow variables and to estimate avalanche runout lengths. At the end of the model chain, in order to assess potential damages, the process interaction with buildings or infrastructure in the runout zone need to be modelled in terms of the resulting impact pressures. All parts of the model chain are impacted by uncertainties, which originate from uncertainties of the measured input data as well as model assumptions, model implementation, boundary and initial conditions. Other sources of uncertainties include the limited quantity of high quality field observations and data that is necessary to calibrate or validate the models, as well as the definition of design events, which is required for risk assessments. Return periods or occurrence probabilities of design events vary for different processes and throughout the existing, international guidelines. Assessing and explicitly treating these uncertainties, e.g. by applying probabilistic approaches, remains a current challenge in the field of snow and avalanches and will be addressed in this workshop.


Question 1: How valuable and reliable are process simulations and model chains as tools to assess avalanche hazards and related risks?

Question 2: Does explicit uncertainty treatment enhance the information value?

Question 3: Which measurements are required to enhance the quality of model results?


This workshop connects themes ranging from land-atmosphere interactions to socio-economic impact of natural hazards in a changing climate.

Workshop 2.4.C: Impacts resulting from slope movement

Moderators: Barbara Schneider-Muntau (Chair), Daniela Engl

This workshop deals with hazards and risks arising from slope movements, e.g. in the form of mass movements. The topic includes the methodology for the assessment of slope movements as well as various new approaches for the modeling of slope movement. This workshop offers space for the presentation of newly developed guidelines as recommendation for handling, but also for the presentation of interesting case studies.

All kind of slope movements find place in this workshop, starting from slow slope movements (e.g. slope creeping) up to very fast slope movements (e.g. rockfalls).

The interrelationships between slope movements and vulnerabilities and impacts on Alpine infrastructure should be worked out in detail. Also proposals for innovative technical protection solutions, monitoring programs or early alert systems are welcome.

Question 1: What triggers or stops massmovements?

Question 2: What are possibilities and limitations in early warning and protection systems?


This workshop connects to themes of interaction of infrastructure with all kind of mass movements, early warning systems and innovative protection systems.

Workshop 2.4.D: Vulnerabilities of and impacts on infrastructures in mountains – Fluvial Hazards

Moderators: Bernhard Gems (Chair), Sven Fuchs, Margreth Keiler

Fluvial hazards are a major threat for mountain settlements. They repeatedly have a significant impact on buildings and infrastructures and despite their local character they cause substantial annual costs in mountain areas worldwide. Fluvial hazards are characterised by complex spatial and temporal interactions between physical properties and sediment content. As such, large amounts of sediment can be mobilised and relocated from torrential headwaters downstream to valley rivers and settlement areas. The approaching water-sediment-mixture impacting buildings and infrastructure facilities is part of a set of damage-generating mechanisms. Understanding these impact dynamics and the interaction with the elements at risk is still a major challenge and so far considered mainly with empirical approaches. Mitigation efforts, being rooted in spatial planning activities or in local structural protection, benefit from further insights into the characteristics of impact dynamics.

This workshop represents a platform for discussing available knowledge on the interaction of these hazard processes with elements at risk and between such interaction and available alternative empirical approaches. Besides exchanging methods and case study results, the aim is to discover niches and establish needs for further research. Differences in country-specific / regional methodical and modelling approaches as well as management strategies are discussed. Further, possible needs for the research of fluvial hazards impacts and vulnerabilities due to changing climate and, more general, environmental dynamics are highlighted. The workshop is addressed both to researchers and practitioners with a comprehensive knowledge and experience in the fields of fluvial hazard modelling, vulnerability research, and / or planning strategies.


Question 1: Which indicators are of major relevance when estimating potential impacts of fluvial hazards on elements at risk?

Question 2: How can we deepen our understanding of process-building-interaction and enhance available approaches for vulnerability analysis?


This workshop connects to themes of interaction of dams and torrent controls with fluvial processes, impacts of climate change on flows and sediment balance in mountain catchments and climate change impacts on catchments hydrology.

Workshop 2.4.E: Natural hazards’ risk governance under changing framework conditions

Moderators: Stefan Schneiderbauer (Chair), Lydia Pedoth, Doris Damyanovic

Societies in Mountain ranges worldwide frequently suffer damage and losses caused by natural hazards. In many cases, this is despite the fact that substantial resources have been invested in structural measures to reduce negative consequences of related hazardous processes. Often these impacts are due to an increase in exposure as well as vulnerabilities of populations, infrastructure and other assets rather than due to the intensity of hazards themselves. In addition to these societal dynamics, risk managers face growing variabilities and uncertainties related to changing climate conditions, which may also lead to new emerging risks previously unknown.

Within this context, dealing with natural risks increasingly touches upon the limits of risk control, the management of residual risk as well as the engagement of relevant actors and the civil society. Moreover, the growing diversity and heterogeneity of many communities and societies call for a strong consideration of the various ways amongst scientists, practitioners, decision makers and the general public, in which risks can be understood, perceived and assessed.

The resulting challenges require to manage risks in an integrated manner. This includes new approaches in risk communication, where communicating does not only mean informing or sending out messages but is understood as a social interaction with common understandings, signs and values.

Against this background, this workshop provides the opportunity to discuss strengths and constraints of non-structural measures to reduce risks and to support the establishment of a ‘risk competent’ society. Topics such as risk communication, the role of social media in risk management and the involvement of different levels of governance will be debated. Contributions will touch upon the connections of demographic, cultural and gender aspects with risk preparedness, risk communication as well as risk behavior.


Question 1: How could risk governance be designed to support diverse mountain communities on their way towards “risk competent societies”?

Question 2: Which measures and tools are required in integrated risk management to deal with current and emerging challenges triggered by natural hazards?


This workshop connects the overarching topic of consequences with this of response.

General Topic III – Responses

Specific Topic 3.1: Adaptation and transformation strategies for mountain systems/infrastructures

Workshop 3.1.A: Mobility and Transport

Moderators: Markus Mailer (Chair), Kay Axhausen, Constantinos Antoniou, Stephan Tischler

There are several aspects determining mobility and traffic in Mountain regions and therefore also the related requirements for adaption and transformation strategies. Beside the specific topography, which is influencing spatial structure and mobility as well as the transport systems, it is the composition and dynamic of traffic that is defining specific conditions. Furthermore the transport infrastructure is often vulnerable to natural hazards.

Although settlement in Mountain Areas is mainly limited to valleys settlement structures are rather heterogeneous. On the one side there a very densely populated agglomerations in the main valleys. On the other there are many remote and some rather isolated areas. But due to intensive tourism some of these mostly remote areas are changing their spatial usage during a year several times: often they show attributes similar to an urban area (high population density, traffic etc.) during high-season, but during low season they can be compared rather to rural areas.

In Mountain Regions daily traffic of residents and local enterprises is interfering with seasonally high traffic volumes related to tourism and recreational traffic as well as with considerable (truck) transit. These different traffic flows are using the main road infrastructure that is situated in the main valleys with only few or even no capable alternative routes. Rail infrastructure is even more limited since there are often no railways in the side valleys where public transport therefore can only be operated with buses. Not only mountain pass roads but also some of these major routes have to face the threat of blocks by rock falls, mud slides or avalanches as well as road closures due to trucks stuck on snow covered roads and even motorways in winter.

Due to these specific conditions vulnerability of the infrastructure related to natural hazards and resilience are very important in Mountain regions. Resilience in mobility is related to accessibility and also means to care for alternative route and transport concepts.

The workshop focuses on strategies for the adaption and transformation of mobility, transport and traffic patterns and infrastructure in Mountain regions also including mobility services and traffic management. The role of tourist travel and transit traffic will be considered. The workshop aims at highlighting and discussing experiences and approaches from countries worldwide also in the light of decarbonisation (e.g. electric vehicles) and digitalisation (e.g. autonomous vehicles) of traffic.


Question 1: How can mobility patterns be transformed and traffic infrastructure be adapted to face the social-ecological challenges of the future?

Question 2: How can mobility services and traffic management contribute to resilience of mobility and transport in Mountain regions?

Question 3: How will electric and autonomous vehicle influence mobility and traffic in Mountain regions considering the specific conditions and requirements of these regions?


This workshop connects to themes of transport planning, traffic management and traffic infrastructure design, modelling of traffic, mobility services in the context of the specific conditions and requirements of Mountain regions and the challenges of future changes (transformation and digitalization of mobility and traffic, decarbonisation, natural hazards, tourism…).

Workshop 3.1.B: Waste- and resources

Moderators: Anke Bockreis (Chair) et al.

The daily amount of waste is interfering with seasonally high amounts due to tourism seasons in alpine regions. In Tyrol, touristic regions are often located in rather remote locations and smaller villages, where the impact of tourism is more significant than in larger cities. Additionally, the demographic change is influencing the composition of the waste, e.g. due to more to-go-dishes. In the future the waste management collection and treatment systems have to be more flexible and adaptable to changing conditions. Further attention should be on the contribution of digitalization in the future waste management system – not only focusing on the advantages as well as on the disadvantages.

The focus of the workshop is the development of strategies for the adaption and transition to flexible waste collection and treatment systems in alpine regions.


Question 1:  How will the demographic change influence the waste amount and composition in the future?

Question 2:  How can the waste collection and treatment systems become more flexible to changing conditions like touristic seasons and demographic change?

Question 3:  How will the digitalization contribute to the future waste management system?


This workshop focuses on the changing composition and amounts of waste due to tourism as well as demographic change and the challenge for the waste collection and treatment system for more flexibility and adaption.

Workshop 3.1.C: Dams and torrent control structures

Moderators: Markus Aufleger (Chair), Bernhard Gems, Johannes Hübl

Not only due to the further advancing change of climate conditions in the next decades but also due to already altered patterns of catchment-specific discharge and sediment loads in the recent past, the design of new dams and torrent control structures, the adaptation and maintenance of existing structures are challenging tasks. Large dams are designed to cope with extreme events in the context of flood protection of downstream settlements and to handle even more intense floods without any relevant structural damages of the dam structures. Torrent control structures, e.g. sediment retention, dosing or filter structures, are designed to cope with fluvial hazard events, which feature typically smaller intensities than those for large dams. However, common for these structures is that their structural design (spillway, overflow section, etc.) is based on certain hydrological / hydraulic scenarios with specific return intervals, which will potentially change with future harmonization of design floods, corresponding sediment loads, etc.

The present workshop focuses on present and future demands on the design and operation of dams for hydropower use and flood protection as well as of torrent control structures. Focus is put on handling exceptional events and, in this context, the definition of overload scenarios and its consideration in the planning process. The workshop will highlight and discuss experiences and approaches from countries worldwide. Needs for further research, reasonability of harmonizing different design approaches, etc. are highlighted.


Question 1: Do classical structures of/at dams and for torrent control in mountain regions feature sufficient overload capability?

Question 2: Is there a need to think about new designs of structures or the enhancement of existing structures due to future increase of fluvial hazards intensities?


This workshop connects to themes of natural hazards modelling, vulnerabilities and risks, impacts of climate change on flows and sediment balance in mountain catchments, sediment continuity and climate change impacts on catchments hydrology.

Workshop 3.1.D: Integrative approaches to adaptation and transformation research in mountain systems

Moderators: Graham McDowell (Chair), Martin Price

Climate change is dramatically altering living conditions in mountain systems, providing new challenges and opportunities for mountain residents. Information about the adaptive and transformative responses of mountain people and relevant institutions to these prospects is relevant to progress towards achieving several SDGs, meeting Paris Agreement obligations, and informing IPCC assessments. Accordingly, research focused on the human dimensions of climate change is of growing importance for sustainable mountain development. In this workshop we aim to highlight recent adaptation and transformation research, focusing on inter- and transdisciplinary projects that have incorporated insights from historically disparate disciplines (e.g. human geography, glaciology, ecology) and knowledge holders (e.g. scientist, community members, decision makers) to generate robust information for advancing sustainable responses to climate change. The workshop aims to foster generative conversations about the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for inter- and transdisciplinary adaptation and transformation research in mountain systems.


Question 1: How has evidence from existing integrative adaptation and transformation research improved understanding of responses to climate change in mountain systems?

Question 2: What challenges have impeded integrative adaptation and transformation research, and how might these barriers be overcome?

Question 3: How can insights from integrative adaptation and transformation research be operationalized to foster more sustainable responses to climate change in mountain systems?

Specific Topic 3.2: Transformation processes in mountain tourism

Workshop 3.2.A: Adapting tourism destinations to changing availability of resources

Moderators: Robert Steiger (Chair), Bruno Abegg

Tourism destinations are heavily dependant on natural, cultural and built attractions. The required ressources for these attractions are not infinite and are subject to changing quantity and quality. Climate change alters the availability and temporal distribution of climatic ressources such as snow or comfortable temperatures, societal changes within the destinations alter the availability of workforce for tourism, demographic changes alter the demand side including e.g. motives and travel patterns. Differing geographical distribution of these tourism relevant ressources and spatial heterogeneous intensity of changes are likely to cause spatially differentiated impacts and challenges. This session aims to better understand drivers and impacts of changing ressources relevant for tourism and potential solutions how to best address these changes.

This workshop connects the themes of institutional governance, resource management and impacts of events and festivals in mountain regions.

Workshop 3.2.B: DMOs and Destination Governance in Transition

Moderators: Mike Peters (Chair), Harald Pechlaner, Daniel Zacher

Destination Management Organizations play an important role in community-driven destinations. Although, their marketing function is still of major importance DMO are forced to face various tasks: Monitoring trends and marketing changes, supporting product and service development processes or the formation of employer branding networks are only a few of these new and challenging functions. DMO serve as transformative institution and stakeholder manager and addresses adaptation processes with a long-term and thus strategic orientation and new governance structures. This workshop session aims at understanding this transformative function of DMOs in mountain regions e.g. with the help of world-wide best practices and up-to-date research in the field of tourism destination governance.

The goal of this workshop is a better understanding of the following questions:


Question 1: How can DMO face the challenges of multiple stakeholder management and marketing in times of scarce resources?

Question 2: Which management but also political and tourism planning functions need to be better developed to support DMO in order to optimize the destinations resources?

This workshop connects the themes of institutional governance, resource management and impacts of events and festivals in mountain regions.

Workshop 3.2.C: Managing major sports event in mountains – impacts, issues and development

Moderators: Martin Schnitzer (Chair), Elsa Kristiansen

Alpine regions host recurring and rotating (major) sports events and aims to attract tourists, improve the quality of life of residents and to leave long-lasting positive legacies. However, the challenges tourist destinations hosting such events are manifold and may also be driven from external factors. Issues like crowding-out effects, overtourism, climate change, environmental pollution, the risk of creating white elephants, opposition of residents in regards of such events, a lack of (tourism) strategies / hosting policies opens a wide discussion for this workshop. Based on empirical evidences and case studies the workshop should give attendees of the workshop, but also to policy makers ideas and how external challenges in alpine destinations may be faced and how internal settings may be improved to create positive effects of majors (sport) events in alpine regions.


This workshop connects the themes of institutional governance, resource management and impacts of events and festivals in mountain regions.

Specific Topic 3.3: Socio-ecologic resilience of agri-food systems in Mountain regions

Workshop 3.3.A: Adapting mountain agro-food systems to climate change

Moderators: Markus Schermer (Chair), Rike Stotten, Marianne Penker

Climate change enables new agricultural cultivation, such as the expanding horticulture and viticulture, or longer growing periods. This opens on the one hand new options for mountain farming to adapt their strategies and to reinvent. However new options for production may lead to conflicting strategies (e.g. intensive horticulture vs. organic grassland). On the other hand, new challenges may arise due to changes of rainfall patterns and prolonged drought periods. Moreover, the impact of climate change is not restricted to production, but includes consumption (e.g. by changing tourism patterns).

This workshop session explores the positive and negative consequences of climate change on production patterns on individual farms, within the farming community and in the relationships between farming and wider society.

We welcome contributions from social science (sociology, anthropology, geography…) using quantitative and/or qualitative approaches to explore issues on different scales from farm to local, regional, and global level. We are especially interested to receive contributions not only from the northern mountain regions but also from the global south.

After the workshop, a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: How do farmers deal with the new options and challenges?

Question 2: What collective strategies are emerging on different spatial levels?

Question 3: What are the consequences for the relationship between farming and wider society?


This workshop connects themes of mountain agri-food systems and climate change.

Workshop 3.3.B: Buffering socio-economic vulnerabilities of agro-food systems in Mountain regions

Moderators: Markus Schermer (Chair), Rike Stotten, Andreja Borec

Agro-food systems in mountain areas are challenged by their remoteness from centers of consumption, which results in socio-economic vulnerabilities, caused by higher transportation costs and a limited local consumer base. Often the terrain limits mechanization and growth of the individual farm, increases production costs and decreases competitiveness. In consequence, this diminishes the attractiveness for young farmers to take over. Thus, many mountain farms are operated in part time conditions and suffer from rural exodus. These conditions influence negatively the capacity to innovate and to respond to new options and challenges.

This workshop session explores new innovative approaches to battle these vulnerabilities. These may relate to product innovation, farm diversification, new entrants into farming, innovative educational initiatives or other approaches to improve the capabilities of actors within the agro-food system.

We welcome contributions that tackle the related questions in empirical case studies from all mountain regions around the world.

After the workshop, a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: What are best practice examples for innovative approaches to reduce the socio-economic vulnerability of agro-food systems in mountain regions?

Question 2: Who are the key actors involved to reduce socio-economic vulnerability?


This workshop connects themes of social and technical innovation.

Workshop 3.3.C: Transforming the societal framework to foster the sustainability of mountain agro-food systems

Moderators: Markus Schermer (Chair), Rike Stotten, Hilde Bjøkhaug

Current socio-political frameworks in mountain regions, especially within the global north, increasingly separate the support for the provision of different eco-system services from the production of food. Support for production is steadily reduced and gradually shifted to environmental protective measures. At the same time we witness a shift from post-production to neo-productivism in rural development. Under neo-liberal conditions, agro-food systems in mountain areas are however not competitive. New collective approaches to deal with these adversities appear on different levels of governance from food value chains to territorial approaches, such as organic regions.

This workshop session explores these new approaches and seeks to assess their potential to transform agro-food systems toward sustainability and resilience.

We welcome contributions that focus on examples of best practice mountain food value chains, innovative ways of governing production, processing and marketing, civic food networks, rural urban linkages or trans-sectoral territorial co-operations. We specifically focus on governance mechanisms across different sectoral and spatial levels.

After the workshop, a better understanding of the following issues is envisioned:


Question 1: Which innovative forms of multilevel governance have the potential to transform the current mountain agro-food systems towards sustainability (social, economic and environmental)?


This workshop connects to topics of socio-ecological transformation for sustainability.

Specific topic 3.4: Actors and institutions for sustainable mountain development

Workshop 3.4.A: Bridging micro and macro factor explanations of strategic decision making and change towards sustainability: new theoretical and methodological developments

Moderators: Stephan Doering (Chair), Kerstin Neumann, Sigrid Stagl, Maurizio Zollo

Today’s societies and regions face grand challenges, many of them global in scope, like climate change, ecosystem disruption and alike. The complexity and dynamism of these challenges, whether social or environmental in nature, require novel solutions, involving multi-actors efforts and working across boundaries of disciplines at multiple level of analysis. Against this background, this workshop focuses on the role of the private sector in driving sustainable development. It is without doubt, that business organizations assume an important role – and responsibility – in driving positive social change of the socio-ecological system they are embedded in. However, less is known how individual decision-makers can affect the adoption of sustainable ways of doing business through their decisions and actions and how such decision-making and behavior can be changed towards being more sustainable.

As such, this workshop aims at developing new theory and methodologies on the so-called micro-foundations for (corporate) sustainability but with the specific premise: to keep in mind the complex interactions of individual, organizational and societal/system factors. We do so by taking particularly advantage of two appropriate and – in this context – novel methods, i.e. experimental designs at different levels of analysis and simulation techniques. By applying these methods in this theoretical domain, we hope to contribute to the received literature in two ways. Fist, we are able to shed some light on the underlying complex causalities behind the phenomenon. Second, it allows us to take into account the nested character of the problem characterized by conflicting goals and information asymmetries at different levels and actors/stakeholders. Decision-makers are embedded within groups and organizations, and organizations are embedded within natural, societal, cultural and economic contexts.

After this workshop, participants have a better understanding of:


(1) Theoretically: how selected individual-level factors can explain sustainable decision-making and its impacts in a given organizational/system level context;

(2): Methodologically: how experimental studies and simulations help us understanding multi-level sustainability impacts and causalities of individual decisions and actions,

(3) Methodologically: how experimental studies and simulations help us understanding the efficacy of different interventions with regard to sustainability impacts.


This workshop connects particularly well to other workshops under the same general topic (“Responses”). At the same time, it also speaks to other themes dealing with human behavior and environmental change as well as societal transformation processes. Moreover, this workshop is interesting to participants of all general topics who are, from a methodological point of view, interested in experimental interventions and simulation modeling.

Workshop 3.4.B: Initiatives for inclusive local development in Mountain regions

Moderators: Fernando Ruiz Peyré (Chair), Valerià Paül

Strategies for adaptation and transformation related to climate change in mountain areas should start looking for positive existent experiences. Several local initiatives of sustainable development in highlands exist and succeed all over the world. They are the result of long-term adaptation to the environment and of the cooperation of diverse actors (state and public institutions, international organizations, private companies, organised civil society and individuals). The reasons for success or failure can be different in each case and depend on different factors: governance structures, balance between actors and interests as well as relations between the area of reach (and scale) and the actions implemented, etc. According to their environmental and social goals, highland societies currently prefer to invest in sustainable and complex models, adapted to their own local context, shared and co-built at local scale, integrating the diverse available resources, including traditions and cultural heritage, giving priority to medium and long-term return, and with a clear monitoring system. In other words, innovation, inclusion and sharing are keywords already in use and practiced in highland societies. In this workshop, we invite existing initiatives to present their experience and good practice examples in order to promote exchanges among the participants.


Question 1: What can be learned from successful experiences and which aspects can be adapted to other contexts?


This workshop connects to themes of local development research, social inclusion and social adaptation to global change.