Transforming the Bavarian Forest: Historical Perspective

Transforming the Bavarian Forest: Socio-ecological crises, community resilience and sustainability from a historical perspective. Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich.

Bavarian Forest



This project seeks to understand how the establishment of Germany’s first National Park (Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald) in the 1970s has transformed livelihoods and environments in the easternmost region of Southern Germany. It studies the relationship between social and ecological change over time and asks what impact the conservation of nature has had on local communities. One of the major research questions will address the issues of sustainability of local communities in light of major landscape transformation (end of logging industry, bark beetle infestation etc.). The doctoral student who works on this project is expected to study, analyse and interpret historical and scientific records (mostly in German) and create a narrative environmental history that helps us understand both pasts and potential futures of the Bayerischer Wald.

Expected Results

The student who works on this project is expected to work towards a doctoral degree in Environmental Humanities or History with the aim of completing this within the fixed term of his or her appointment. He/ she will be expected to work in an interdisciplinary mode (i.e. involve environmental/ social/political history, ecology, forestry, geography, environmental anthropology), and also through transdisciplinary exchanges with regional actors and members of the park administration). The result will be the first state-of-the-art environmental history of a National Park in Germany that will shed light on future developments in other protected areas in Germany and beyond.

Current member