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WSL addresses the use and protection of landscapes and habitats, acting as a bridge between science and implementation. It is committed to landscapes and forests with a high quality of life, and to responsible handling of natural hazards. In research, WSL has a leading position worldwide and provides foundations for sustainable environmental policy in Switzerland. It develops solution strategies for socially relevant problems, together with its partners from the scientific community, from society and from industry. In so doing, it works in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary manner; this practice-oriented approach to research is a particular strength.
WSL employs around 500 personnel in Birmensdorf, Davos, Lausanne, Bellinzona and Sitten. About half are employed as scientific personnel, while almost 70 others work as doctoral students. Technical and administrative personnel, as well as trainees and student apprentices, complete the workforce. Around a quarter of all personnel work at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.
In 2012, WSL is intensifying its research into sustainable use of natural resources such as forests and water, but also the landscape, thus helping to find solutions to urgent energy issues. The question of how climate change affects living and non-living nature remains a central issue, which WSL researchers are investigating with considerable dedication and competence. Globalisation and climate change are giving rise to an increasing number of dangerous new plant pathogens. In order to enable these to be studied and researched safely, the planning of a plant protection laboratory is continuing.