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The umbrella organisation of anthropologists in Switzerland represents the interests of the discipline to the general public and the authorities. Its members are mainly composed of experts with a focus on natural science.

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Rigi Workshop 2020: Ecosystems under pressure - Agriculture, forestry and conservation under global change

Rigi Workshop, where disciplines meet


Hotel Rigi Kulm

A group of 22 PhD students from11 institutions all over Switzerland met for a three-day workshop in January 2020 on top of the Rigi mountain to discuss about pressing issues and challenges associated with global changes in agriculture, forest and conservation biology

Herbst mitten im Sommer. Vertrocknetes braunrotes Laub und die Abendsonne tauchen den Waldrand in herbstliche Farben. Ein Wald am oberen Zürichsee am 25. Juli 2018.
Image: Stephan Bader, MeteoSchweiz

The Rigi-Workshop was set up by the Platform Biology of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) to promote interdisciplinary exchanges between young and senior scientists. During this workshop the students had the opportunities to present their PhD work and to expand their scientific network to other disciplines.

Based on the input lectures of five researchers the students were asked to work out the main current issues as well as future challenges and opportunities in agriculture, forestry and conservation biology. To cover different perspectives, students were split into groups with different background. The ultimate goal was to identify potential solutions for more sustainable use of the planet’s resources with the main focus on central Europe.

The workshop was a great success thanks to the high motivation of the students. Lively and intense discussions highlighted that this new generation of scientists is truly concerned by the current environmental issues and feel responsible to propose solutions. In spite of their different backgrounds, their opinions about the main challenges/issues converged and a consensus was reached at the end of the workshop. The students underlined the emergency of the situation so that actions should not be delayed. Among the different solutions proposed, raising public awareness as well as effective communication across scientists, stakeholders and policy makers were highlighted. Students also debated about the efforts needed to clearly communicate recommendations from the scientific community towards policy makers and stakeholders.

The workshop was supported by the SwissForestLab and the Commission for Phenology and Seasonality as well as the following institutions: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Swiss Ornithological Institute. The input lectures during the workshop were given by Martin M. Gossner (WSL), Martin Hartmann (ETH), Sibylle St ckli (FiBL), Nicolas Strebel (Swiss Ornithological Institute) and Yann Vitasse (WSL).

Here is the synthesis of the workshop output written by the students.

  • Rigi Workshop 2020 group photo
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 view
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 presentation
  • Rigi workshop 2020 poster
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 - group work
  • Rigi workshop 2020 Brainstorming
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 - quote
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 group photo1/7
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 view2/7
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 presentation3/7
  • Rigi workshop 2020 poster4/7
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 - group work5/7
  • Rigi workshop 2020 Brainstorming6/7
  • Rigi Workshop 2020 - quote7/7



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