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 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. 

Jaguars in Jujuy – a sign of healthy mountain ecosystems

Jaguars in Jujuy – a sign of healthy mountain ecosystems

news

For the last ten years, Fundación ProYungas – a member of the Mountain Partnership since 2005 – has been monitoring biodiversity in northern Argentina with camera traps. Monitoring occurs in the territories of companies participating in the Protected Productive Landscape programme. To date, the camera traps have recorded...

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Red, the colour of prosperity for indigenous Ulikan rice farmers in the Philippines

Red, the colour of prosperity for indigenous Ulikan rice farmers in the Philippines

news

It is 6.00 in the Pasil River Valley of Kalinga Province in the Philippine Cordillera. Lucious green mountains dotted with rice fields extend as far as the eye can see. Lita Caniw, 72, is headed to work at her six parcels of land in the Fummag Rice Terraces. Throughout her...

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Promoting Mountain Biodiversity Through Sustainable Value Chains

Promoting Mountain Biodiversity Through Sustainable Value Chains

publication

This article was written by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat for the Mountain Research and Development journal. The article outlines the ways in which mountain biodiversity matters for us all and details the actions of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to promote...

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Call for inputs: 2020 MPS Annual Report

Call for inputs: 2020 MPS Annual Report

peak to peak

The February 2021 issue of Peak to Peak opens with a call for Mountain Partnership members to submit inputs for the Secretariat's 2020 Annual Report. This month, the 'Members' Voices' section features Farmer Tantoh of the Save Your Future Association in Cameroon. Top news stories from January focus on governments in...

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Mountains celebrated worldwide on IMD 2020

Mountains celebrated worldwide on IMD 2020

peak to peak

The first issue of Peak to Peak in 2021 highlights International Mountain Day, held every year on 11 December. The newsletter focuses on events held by mountain lovers and communities around the world. This issue gives a recap of events divided by region. Peak to Peak January 2021 also features...

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Commemorating IMD in the Americas

Commemorating IMD in the Americas

news

North and Central America, the Caribbean and South America marked International Mountain Day (IMD) in 2020 through various events in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Peru, the United States of America and Venezuela.

The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) together with the Reconciling Ways of Knowing: Indigenous Knowledge and Science Forum...

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