The research group Man and Environment, Settlements, through basic and applied research, analyses those relations of humans with the environment that are particularly affected by social change. A better understanding of the interaction between such processes at global, regional and local level is essential if we want to safeguard mountain regions long-term as liveable areas with their peculiarities in terms of their natural and cultural spaces. Such knowledge also ensures sustainable development. The focus is on population-geographical processes (urbanization, depopulation, migration, multi-local living), their effects on human land use, on objectively measureable land-cover structures and subjective perception of cultural landscapes.

The combined application of quantitative and qualitative methods on different scales and the diachronic observation of longer periods allow us to better understand the relations of humans with the environment in settled mountain areas. It also facilitates deriving recommendations for action that are relevant to society and to on-the-ground situations to support decision makers. Our special methodological competence is in building data bases for the  long-term comparative analysis of regions and landscapes and its visualization with the aid of interactive WebGIS (GALPIS, AlpES). The regional focus is on Alpine and Andean mountain areas, esp. in terms of comparative mountain research.