Department Environmental Social Sciences

Wetlands - Social-ecological networks in Swiss wetlands governance

Dealing with ecosystems is challenging. In ecosystems, different ecological processes interact in complex ways. In turn, these processes influence, and are influenced by humans. Ecosystem governance encompasses situations where different organizations from civil society, the private sector and the administration are involved in this.

Ecological relations within an ecosystem can be modeled as a network. Networks can also be used to model the interplay between different organizations involved in the governance of ecosystems. Social-ecological networks combine these two types of networks. They represent a new approach to simultaneously model social and ecological components of ecosystem governance.

Social-ecological network structures allow for an assessment of how ecosystem governance plays out in a given setting. The Wetlands project analyzes such network structures between ecosystems and society, using the example of alluvial plains in Switzerland. On the one hand, this is intended to provide organizations with information that allows them to better coordinate their activities. On the other hand, a comparison of different social-ecological network will be used to isolate structural determinants of successful ecosystem governance, as well as the determinants encouraging the development of such structures.

Project Team

Dr. Manuel FischerGroup leader, Cluster: PEGOTel. +41 58 765 5676Send Mail
Martin HuberDoctoral Student, Cluster: PEGOTel. +41 58 765 6435Send Mail
Iris BhatiaTel. +41 58 765 6499Send Mail

External team members

Dr. Mario Angst (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL)


Bodin, Ö.; Alexander, S. M.; Baggio, J.; Barnes, M. L.; Berardo, R.; Cumming, G. S.; Dee, L. E.; Fischer, A. P.; Fischer, M.; Mancilla Garcia, M.; Guerrero, A. M.; Hileman, J.; Ingold, K.; Matous, P.; Morrison, T. H.; Nohrstedt, D.; Pittman, J.; Robins, G.; Sayles, J. S. (2019) Improving network approaches to the study of complex social–ecological interdependencies, Nature Sustainability, 2(7), 551-559, doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0308-0, Institutional Repository

Planned Publications

Angst, M et al. Understanding and informing complex governance problems: an integrated approach to combine causal diagrams and actor networks


Martin HuberDoctoral Student, Cluster: PEGOTel. +41 58 765 6435Send Mail


Project Duration: April 2018 – March 2022

Funding: SNF