Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 65–77 | Cite as

Regional Nature Parks in Switzerland. Between top-Down and Bottom-Up Institution Building for Landscape Management

  • Jean-David Gerber


In 2007 Swiss Federal legislation introduced Regional Nature Parks (RNPs). In this paper I treat the landscape as an object of political-legal regulation and focus on the governance of its uses. I use the constitutionality framework to support our analysis. Constitutionality refers to a form of institution building that stresses bottom-up natural resource management initiatives. Through a detailed case study I show that the interests of landscape users are not equally well protected by law. The success of the new parks model depends on a subtle balance between local self-organization and top-down control. The interests of the weakest actors, i.e., landscape viewers, can be supported only through strong backing at higher levels of government.


Constitutionality Landscape Regional Nature Park Resource governance First world political ecology Switzerland 



I wish to thank Jill Belsky for her helpful comments on an early draft of this manuscript. Anonymous reviewers of this manuscript also provided very useful insights.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED)University of BernBernSwitzerland

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