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. 

 

Forum “Origin, Diversity and Territories”

Forum “Origin, Diversity and Territories”

event

The Forum “Origin, Diversity and Territories” (ODT) is an international platform for the exchange of practices and knowledge on cultural and biological diversities, territories and products for which their quality is linked to their origin. The Forum brings together a global panel of actors (territory actors, academics, policy-makers, researchers, etc)...

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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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Enter the #MountainsMatter video contest

Enter the #MountainsMatter video contest

peak to peak

Issue 109 – Month 10 – Year 2017

The October issue of Peak to Peak launches the #MountainsMatter video contest, to bring attention to the plight of mountain peoples and ecosystems for International Mountain Day 2017. The newsletter continues with stories about the University of the Mountains’ initiative to...

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September update on mountain protected areas

September update on mountain protected areas

news

Bursting with stories about newly inscribed World Heritage Sites, the construction of roads in wilderness areas, retreating glaciers and more, the 95th issue of the Mountain Protected Areas Update provides a glimpse into the world of mountains and mountain protected areas. This edition of the International Union for...

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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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