Press "Enter" to skip to content
Global Change Research Institute, CAS

Department of the Human Dimensions of Global Change


The Department of Human Dimensions of Global Change focuses on the interactions between people and the changing world. We explore the social-ecological aspects of sustainability challenges, such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity loss, and disaster risk reduction. We work at a range of locations and scales, learning between Czechia and other locations throughout Europe and the world. Some further information on the department can also be found at

Our current research topics include:

  • Natural hazard analysis and susceptibility mapping for enhanced disaster risk reduction
  • Geo-environmental change in high mountain regions (drivers, dynamics and impacts)
  • Protected area management
  • Transformation pathways for sustainable futures
  • Ecosystem service mapping and valuation

The Department has been engaged in numerous high-profile research projects within extensive international networks, namely:

  • ESMERALDA (Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking) – funded by EU H2020
  • BASE (Bottom-up Climate Adaptation Strategies towards a Sustainable Europe) – funded by EU FP7
  • UrbanAdapt (Urban Adaptation to Climate Change) – funded by EEA grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)

Research Approach

We are a department of experts from a broad range of research disciplines including environmental modelling, physical and human geography, economics, sociology, political science and sustainability science. We work together, combining qualitative and quantitative approaches, to produce interdisciplinary understandings of the human dimensions of global change.

The methods and approaches that we engage with include:

  • Transdisciplinary knowledge creation
  • Deliberative methods (participatory approaches, stakeholder engagement and mapping, interviews, focus groups, etc.)
  • future scenario planning, sustainability pathways
  • GIS modelling, ecosystem services modelling
  • remote sensing data analysis (multitemporal optical images, detection and quantification of geoenvironemntal changes)
  • field work (geomorphological mapping, palaeogeographical reconstructions, dating, etc.)


Our work is both scientifically and socially relevant. To ensure this, we work with the participation of people and organisations. Together we explore, understand, and create solutions to, sustainability problems. By doing so, we ensure that we create knowledge that is useful for decision-making and management of natural resources. The outcomes of our work inform natural resource and sustainability policy from local to international level.

We have taken part in projects supporting sustainability endeavours of large-scale international organisations:

  • Piloting System of Environmental and Economic Accounting –Experimental Ecosystems Accounting (SEEA-EEA) in Kyrgyzstan – funded by UNDP Czech Trust Fund
  • SEACRIFOG (Supporting EU-African Cooperation on Research Infrastructures for Food Security and Greenhouse Gas Observations – funded by EU H2020
  • MAIA (Mapping and Assessment for Integrated Ecosystem Accounting) – funded by EU H2020
  • EC Developing key ecosystem indicators and policy pathways for post-2020

The department has contributed to products widely used by Czech administration bodies and practitioners:

  • CLES (Consolidated Layer of Ecosystems), a map resource for ecosystem service assessment, distributed by the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (AOPK).

Database of nature-based adaptation measures (available here)

Members of the department are actively engaged in science-policy interfaces:

  • IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
  • EKLIPSE (Knowledge and Learning Mechanism on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
  • ICGdR (International Consortium on Geo-disaster Reduction)