Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 839–854 | Cite as

Network governance and regional resilience to climate change: empirical evidence from mountain tourism communities in the Swiss Gotthard region

  • Tobias LutheEmail author
  • Romano Wyss
  • Markus Schuckert
Original Article


Mountain regions and peripheral communities, which often depend on few economic sectors, are among the most exposed and sensitive to climate change. Governance of such socio-economic-ecological networks plays a strong role in determining their resilience. Social processes of governance, such as collaboration between communities, can be systematically assessed through the existence and strength of connections between actors and their embeddedness in the broader socio-economic network by social network analysis (SNA). This paper examines how network governance of the tourism industry–dependent Swiss Gotthard region relates to resilience to climate change by SNA. The paper argues that economic diversification and a network structure supporting stability, flexibility, and innovation increase regional resilience to climate change. The Gotthard network has a high diversification capability due to high cohesion and close collaboration, limited innovative capacity by the existence of only two subgroups, and considerable flexibility through the centralized structure. Main weaknesses are a low density, uneven distribution of power, and a lack of integration of some supply chain sectors into the overall network.


Social network analysis Vulnerability Adaptive capacity Mountain communities Regional environmental change 



We woud like to acknowledge the project funding by EU Interreg ClimAlpTour and by Swiss Network of International Studies (SNIS), as well as to support by Ulrik Brandes and Bobo Nick, University of Konstanz.

Supplementary material

10113_2012_294_MOESM1_ESM.doc (788 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 635 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Tourism and Leisure ResearchUniversity of Applied Sciences HTW ChurChurSwitzerland
  2. 2.School of Hotel and Tourism ManagementThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong

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