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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Crop diversity in the Pamir Highlands

Crop diversity in the Pamir Highlands

news

The Public Organization “Environmental Consultancy”, jointly with the Pamir Eco-Cultural Tourism Association, will conduct a course on biocultural diversity, focused on the centennial of geneticist Nikolay Ivanovich Vavilov’s expedition to the Pamir Highlands to explore the links between genetic diversity of crops and human cultures, on 2-10 August 2017 in...

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Mountains, one year after the Paris Agreement

Mountains, one year after the Paris Agreement

news

One year ago, on 22 April (Earth Day) 2016, 175 of the 197 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York to sign the Paris Agreement, an international treaty to address climate change. As of today, one year after...

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Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

event

The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), American University’s Center for Latin America and Latino Studies (CLALS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) announce an international conference on the theme of mountains...

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Mountain inventory published in Alpine Botany

Mountain inventory published in Alpine Botany

news

An article by the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA) team has been published in the journal Alpine Botany. “A global inventory of mountains for bio-geographical applications” describes the process the GMBA team followed to develop an inventory of the world’s mountains in order to assess the biological diversity...

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Call for applications for IPROMO 2017

Call for applications for IPROMO 2017

peak to peak

Issue 103 – Month 4 – Year 2017

The April issue of Peak to Peak announces the call for applications for the 2017 IPROMO course, to focus on environmental and economic issues to enhance mountain sustainability. The newsletter continues with news of Mountain Partnership member Farmer Cooperative Alysh Dan...

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