Mountain biodiversity


Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.
Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.

Half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity. Mountains are home to rare species of plants and animals. These include increasingly rare animals such as gorillas, mountain lions, and the majestic tahr or strikingly beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias.

A large portion of the world's most precious gene pools (for agriculture and medicine) are preserved in mountains. Crops that are important for food security, such as maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, beans and apples, have been diversified in mountains and an array of domestic animals - sheep, goats, yaks, llamas and alpacas - have originated or been diversified in mountains. Other crops, such as wheat, rye, rice, oats and grapes, have found new homes in the mountains and evolved into many varieties. Coffee and tea, with their roots in Ethiopia and the Himalayan region, are mountain crops as well. Medicinal plants are one of the most valuable resources from high altitudes. This rich biodiversity holds cultural, ecological and economic value. In the Andes, for example, farmers know of as many as 200 different varieties of indigenous potatoes and, in Nepal, they farm approximately 2 000 varieties of rice.

Climate change, poverty, commercial mining, logging and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has increasingly been recognized as a global priority. The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a Programme of Work on Mountain Biological Diversity in 2004, which includes a set of actions and targets addressing characteristics and problems that are specific to mountain ecosystems. 

 

New mountain research and development issue

New mountain research and development issue

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The newest issue of Mountain Research and Development,Vol 38, No 3 is now available online. 

Papers in this issue cover a broad range of topics including the foresight process as a means of conservation in a national reserve in Peru, local perception of a dam construction project in the...

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Closing summer school on Agrobiodiversity

Closing summer school on Agrobiodiversity

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The first Summer School on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate ended this week. Held at FAO in Rome, Italy, the course hosted high profile speakers from NaturaSi, IFOAM Organics International and Slow Food and looked at ways to enhance productivity and improve marketing strategies in sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.

“We know that...

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Inspiring social innovation in mountains

Inspiring social innovation in mountains

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Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA)’s fourth brochure, called “Collection of Examples of Social Innovation in Mountain areas” has just been published, in collaboration with Euromontana and SIMRA partners. These brochures aim at concretely illustrating social innovation through the presentation of local on-going initiatives throughout Europe and the...

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IPROMO inspires wildlife conservation in Malawi

IPROMO inspires wildlife conservation in Malawi

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The Mountain Partnership training programme, IPROMO in 2017 inspired a collaboration between the chairman Danilo Godone and Godfrey Mfiti, a participant from Malawi, and a promising idea concerning the management of wildlife conservation in Malawi took shape. The IPROMO course in 2017 marked the tenth anniversary of the programme where...

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GMBA Mountain Inventory and Mountain Portal

GMBA Mountain Inventory and Mountain Portal

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The Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA) has released new versions of its Mountain inventory and to it’s Mountain Portal.

The Mountain Portal is an interactive web platform provided by the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment of Future Earth and developed by Map of Life. It is a tool to...

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Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate Summer school

Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate Summer school

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The first Summer School titled “Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate"  will be held at the Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University, in Rome, Italy.

The course will focus on the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, with particular attention to its role in enhancing resilience and adaptability of cropping and farming systems...

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