Settlement areas in mountains exhibit various specificities in terms of the natural and cultural landscape. Here changes in society have the greatest impact on the relations of humans with their environment. A better understanding of this interaction in the processes at global, regional and local levels is essential if we want to ensure that mountains remain liveable spaces in the longer term by ensuring sustainable development.

The section Man and Environment - Settlements approaches this thematic field through non-application-specific basic and applied research. Population-geographic processes are at the centre of this research (urbanization, depopulation, migration, multi-locality), as are the related consequences for human land use and its impact on objectively measurable land cover structures and subjective perception of cultural landscapes.

The combined application of quantitative and qualitative methods at different levels of magnitude and the diachronic observation of longer periods lead to a better understanding of the relations of humans with their environment in mountain settlement areas. Our findings allow an extrapolation of recommendations for decision makers of practical actions that are relevant for society. The regional focus is on the Alps and the Andes, not least in terms of a comparative mountain research.