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Wyss R.,Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt | Wyss R.,University of Applied science Chur
Revue de Geographie Alpine

Climate change is an imminent challenge for many alpine tourism destinations. While the effects of changing climatic patterns are well documented with respect to the physical geographical sphere, research into the effects of climate change upon the regional socioeconomic systems in the Alps is still rare. What is almost entirely missing is conceptual work identifying possible path-ways towards the implementation of adaptation measures with respect to climate change (see as one notable exception the contribution by Richard et al. 2010 in the last issue of the RGA). It is in this context that the paper at hand whishes to make a contribution by showing where the main barriers towards the successful implementation of adaptation measures lay. Theoretically, the paper builds upon distinct psychological and sociological concepts related to the actor-structure duality as suggested by structuration theory, while the Alps serve as the geographical frame of reasoning for the conceptual debate brought forward within the paper. © Revue de géographie alpine/Journal of Alpine Research. Source

El Benni N.,University of Applied science Chur | El Benni N.,ETH Zurich | Finger R.,University of Bonn | Meuwissen M.P.M.,Wageningen University
European Review of Agricultural Economics

We extend the existing literature on the income stabilisation tool (IST) by investigating the influence of farm and farmers' characteristics on potential indemnification applying double-hurdle models on a rich panel data set on Swiss farms. We find more likely and higher indemnifications for part-time and low-income farmers. Thus, the IST might become a new transfer instrument hampering the structural change. Even though the estimated costs of the IST are low compared with the current direct payment level in Switzerland, both policy measures are partly substitutes with respect to income risk reductions implying more frequent and higher indemnification through the IST if direct payments are reduced. © Oxford University Press and Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics 2015. Source

Luthe T.,University of Applied science Chur | Wyss R.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Sustainability Science

While ecological resilience is conceptually established, resilience concepts of social–ecological systems (SES) require further development, especially regarding their implementation in society. From the literature, (a) we identify the need for a revised conceptualization of SES resilience to improve its understanding for informing the development of adjusted mental models. (b) We stress the human capacity of social learning, enabling deliberate transformation of SES, for example of SES to higher scales of governance, thereby possibly increasing resilience. (c) We introduce the metaphor of adaptive waves to elucidate the differences between resilience planning and adaptation, by conceptualizing adaptation and transformation as dynamic processes that occur both inadvertently and deliberately in response to both shocks and to gradual changes. In this context, adaptive waves stress the human and social capacity to plan resilience with an intended direction and goal, and to dampen the negative effects of crises while understanding them as opportunities for innovation. (d) We illustrate the adaptive waves’ metaphor with three SES cases from tourism, forestry, and fisheries, where deliberate transformations of the governance structures lead to increased resilience on a higher governance scale. We conclude that conceptual SES resilience communication needs to clarify the role and potential of human and social capital in anticipating change and planning resilience, for example, on different scales of governance. It needs to emphasize the crucial importance of crises for innovation and transformation, relevant for the societal acceptance of crises as drivers of adaptation and transformation. The adaptive waves’ metaphor specifically communicates these aspects and may enhance the societal capacity, understanding, and willingness for planning resilience. © 2015, The Author(s). Source

Luthe T.,University of Applied science Chur | Kagi T.,Carbotech AG
Journal of Industrial Ecology

Many existing methods for sustainable technical product design focus on environmental efficiency while lacking a framework for a holistic, sustainable design approach that includes combined social, technical, economic, and environmental aspects in the whole product life cycle, and that provides guidance on a technical product development level. This research proposes a framework for sustainable technical product design in the case of skis. We developed a ski under the Grown brand, benchmarked according to social, environmental, economic, and technical targets, following an initial sustainability assessment, and delivered the first environmental life cycle assessment (ELCA) and the first social life cycle assessment (SLCA) of skis. The framework applies a virtual development process as a combination of ELCA to calculate the environmental footprint as carbon equivalents of all materials and processes and a technical computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation and virtual optimization using parameter studies for the nearly prototype-free development of the benchmarked skis. The feedback loops between life cycle assessment (LCA) and virtual simulation led to the elimination of highly energy intensive materials, to the pioneering use of basalt fibers in skis, to the optimization of the use of natural materials using protective coatings from natural resins, and to the optimization of the production process. From an environmental perspective, a minimum 32% reduction in carbon equivalent emissions of materials in relation to other comparably performing skis has been achieved, as well as a pioneering step forward toward transparent communication of the environmental performance by the individual, comparable, and first published ski carbon footprint per volume unit. © 2013 by Yale University. Source

Wyss R.,University of Applied science Chur | Wyss R.,Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt | Luthe T.,University of Applied science Chur | Abegg B.,University of Innsbruck | Abegg B.,Alpnter for Climate Change Adaptation
Local Environment

While there is ample - though partially contradictory - evidence regarding the effects climate change will have on various regions of the world, there is only very limited work dedicated to the analysis of different governance structures, and how these structures are likely to influence the resilience of alpine tourism systems in the face of climate change. We present an analytical framework based on network theory, and apply this to the Swiss case study destination of Engelberg, in order to deduct a number of insights for the future assessment of resilience based on the cooperation of local actors. The main aim of the paper is to come up with comparable resilience metrics based on social network analysis in order to assess the structural strengths and weaknesses of a geographically delimited tourism system in the face of climate change. Together with the action potential of the individual actors these structural properties influence the adaptive capacity of both individual actors, and the tourism system as a whole. In line with comparable studies, we identify structural strengths and weaknesses around the core-periphery distribution (centrality), subgroups (modularity) and information flows (path length). We find that the Engelberg network follows an almost ideal-typical scale-free structure and the overall cooperation rate (density) is comparable to other tourism networks. The main weaknesses of the network with regard to climate change resilience are the lacking integration of public sector actors and the relatively high number of actors in the periphery of the network. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Source

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