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. 

Members’ voices: Mathew John, Last Forest

Members’ voices: Mathew John, Last Forest

news

Last Forest is a social enterprise pioneering sustainable living choices by connecting communities to markets. We promote eco-friendly, thoughtful and meaningful products made by indigenous communities in the mountains of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in South India.

Indigenous communities represent 8.6 percent of the population of India. They are the...

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Apply for GROW Summer School 2021

Apply for GROW Summer School 2021

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The 2021 GROW Summer School "Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate" is now accepting applications. The summer school will be held online from 14 to 24 September 2021.

One of the world’s greatest challenges is to secure access for all to adequate supplies of food that are healthy, safe and high quality,...

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Standard for biodiversity management open for public consultation

Standard for biodiversity management open for public consultation

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ProClima and South Pole are joining forces to provide tools for biodiversity management that will be applicable to the conservation of mountain ecosystems. They invite Mountain Partnership members to participate in the public consultation of their “Standard for the certification and registration of biodiversity conservation initiatives: Nature-based solutions for...

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MP

MP's dialogue highlights sustainable food systems in mountains

peak to peak

The June 2021 issue of Peak to Peak highlights the outcomes of the Mountain Partnership's Independent Dialogue on mountains an sustainable food systems, organized to inform the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit. Members' Voices features a Mountain Partnership Products producer story on Mermelada de Arándano from Peru. Top news stories cover a...

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A wild Andean blueberry boosts livelihoods in Peru

A wild Andean blueberry boosts livelihoods in Peru

news

The Callejón de Conchucos is a set of valleys located above 3 000 metres running along the eastern slope of the Cordillera Blanca in Ancash, Peru. Remote villages and archaeological sites abound here between breathtaking mountainous views.

It is here, high in the Andes, that a wild variety of blueberry, Vaccinium...

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Celebrating bees’ role in mountains

Celebrating bees’ role in mountains

news

The importance of bees for maintaining the provision of ecosystem services, ensuring humankind’s well-being and promoting sustainable development – especially in mountains – was highlighted in a World Bee Day celebration organized by the Central Himalayan Institute for Nature and Applied Research (CHINAR) and VToujours on 20 May.

In recent years,...

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