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. 

 

6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas

6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas

event

National Parks Austria and Hohe Tauern National Park will host the 6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Salzburg, Austria. Researchers and protected areas managers, as well as individuals from government, business, non-governmental organizations and the public who are interested in...

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1st West African Mountain Forum

1st West African Mountain Forum

event

West Africa is a sub-region that has an abundance of ecosystems, including - among others - mountains. Although not necessarily impressive in terms of altitude, West African mountains are high in biodiversity, and they play an important role in the overall sustainable development of the sub-region. Many West African communities...

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Short Course: Crop Genetic Diversity in the Field and on the Farm, Principles and Applications in Research Practices

Short Course: Crop Genetic Diversity in the Field and on the Farm, Principles and Applications in Research Practices

event

The University of Rome Sapienza, in collaboration with the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) and Bioversity International, will hold a one-week credited short course on “Crop Genetic Diversity in the Field and on the Farm: Principles and Applications in Research Practice”, based on a text book by the...

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FAO's Work in Sustainable Mountain Development and Watershed Management—A 2017 Update

publication

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provides an update on its activities related to sustainable mountain development and watershed management in this 2017 platform statement published in Volume 37, Issue 2 (May 2017) of Mountain Research and Development.

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Keeping an Eye on SDG 15

Keeping an Eye on SDG 15

publication

This publication presents the three forest-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators for which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the custodian agency, including SDG indicator 15.4.2, the Mountain Green Cover Index. It contains 3-4 pages for each indicator, covering the following: a) context of goal...

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High-level mountain conference announced

High-level mountain conference announced

peak to peak

Issue 105 – Month 6 – Year 2017

The June issue of Peak to Peak announces the high-level conference on mountains “Mountains under Pressure” that will be held on 11 December 2017 at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. The newsletter continues with...

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