12th Biennial European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) Conference
Mountains and Plains: Past, present and future environmental and climatic entanglements
Bern, Switzerland | 22-26 August 2023.
Since prehistoric times, mountain ranges all over the world have been a protective barrier and a place to be overcome. Transit deeply influenced the socio-economic structure of mountainous societies and enabled knowledge transfer. Mountains are «water castles» of the surrounding plains, and they play an important role for macro- and micro-scale weather conditions. The Alps were the first transnational mountain range that scholars examined in detail; and since the eighteenth century, they had been one of the most important places for tourism in Europe.
Numerous environmental challenges of the present and the future are also connected to mountains: the melting of glaciers; the availability of natural resources; increases in the number and magnitude of natural hazards; traffic and tourism; losses of cultural landscape ecosystems through rural depopulation; structural economic problems due to low income in agriculture and forestry; losses in biodiversity as a consequence of the maladaptation of state subsidies; losses of cultural and natural heritage. The great variety of topics at the conference will thus show the relevance of environmental history approaches (in a wider sense) for societies of the present and the future.