This special issue contains results of the MABIS project (Mass movements in South, West and Central Germany) which was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association). The MABIS project with participants from five German universities ran from 1995 to 2001. It was the first project in Germany with a key focus on geomorphic landslide research comparing different landslide prone geological formations and different geomorphic landform types. The project was an excellent opportunity for German geomorphologists to collect widely distributed landslide data from different resources in Germany, to start new data sampling activities, to apply and develop new research methods, and to continue research in an important topic related to natural hazard assessments. The working teams of the MABIS project were made up by experienced geomorphologists and young masters and PhD students. A high number of master and PhD theses has been finished documenting highly motivated young researchers and research objectives. The MABIS project framework and conception was developed in close co-operation with European landslide research projects. The European TESLEC project (The temporal stability and activity of landslides in Europe with respect to climatic change) stimulated significantly the basic conceptual framework of MABIS. This refers especially to objective 2 of the TESLEG project with a major focus on the reconstruction of past distribution of landslide incidence related to the change of various climate parameters (Dikau & Schrott 1999, Schrott & Pasuto 1999).