IPROMO 2016  Summer School: Managing mountain resources and diversities - the role of protected areas


About one third of all protected areas are located in upland and mountain areas and are characterized by a diversity of landscapes, land-cover types and land-use systems. Mountains host about 25 percent of terrestrial biodiversity and have cultural, spiritual and recreational values for many different populations around the globe.

The benefits of protected areas extend far beyond their immediate environs. These areas serve as natural gardens, safeguarding and cultivating biodiversity, including the wild plant relatives of crops. Protected areas also provide ecosystem services, such as pollination, pest and erosion control, with mountain areas playing a special role through their contribution to clean water and decreased disaster risks.

Upland watershed and mountain ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to global changes such as climate change, increasingly frequent natural disasters, population growth, the expansion of unsustainable agriculture, and urbanization, which compromise the role of these ecosystems. Protected areas have an important role to play in facing the increasing stress of a growing population in need of food security, and of environmental degradation and climate change, reducing the availability of land, fisheries and forests. The livelihoods of many mountain communities depend on access to and control over land and other natural resources.

At global level, millions of people depend on protected areas as a means of subsistence and although protected areas promote conservation, they can also result in increased hunger, poverty, displacement and social conflict when their establishment weakens or extinguishes legitimate tenure rights of local communities whose livelihoods depend on access to natural resources.

Mountain protected areas can contribute significantly to the livelihoods and food security of mountain peoples while conserving universally important environmental services such as clean water and biodiversity resources. In order to ensure that these functions are maintained, the sound and integrated management of mountain protected areas is essential. A management approach is required which addresses, on the one hand, the protection and wise use of natural resources, and, on the other, the improved livelihoods of the local communities who are the custodians of the resources. The management of these protected areas requires a participatory approach in which the needs and indigenous experiences of local populations are taken into account and their access rights to land and resources are respected.




The summer school will be held in the city of Ormea, NW-Italy, for about 30/35 officers, researchers and technicians from all over the world, providing a technical and scientific overview of the role of protected areas in mountains.

It will focus on several aspects that contribute to the fruitful management of mountain protected areas, ranging from sustainable environment conservation to governance rights, income generation and food security. Particular emphasis will be placed on the importance of a participatory approach where local communities and authorities closely cooperate. The field trip to Aosta Valley (in cooperation with the Institut Agricole Régional), will allow participants to discover different examples of mountain resource management in protected areas, while the excursion to the Istituto Scientifico Angelo Mosso (Alagna Valsesia) will be focused on real examples of soil and geology valorization within the Alta Valsesia Natural Park. The interrelations between climate change and other global challenges and mountain protected areas will be discussed during the course and working groups will be formed, allowing participants to share their knowledge and build a network of experts.

Structure and Venue


The activities will start on 8 July 2016 with an overview of the course and end on 18 July 2016 with a closing ceremony; the course will include lectures, seminars, group work and field trips. The lecturers will be experts from the UN system, universities, international organizations and NGOs. As in previous years, the activities will be organized by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences and the Interdepartmental Research Centre on Natural Risks in Mountain and Hilly Environments of the University of Turin, with financial support from the City of Ormea and international organizations.

Basic information


Scientific Director:
Professor Michele Freppaz - Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences - Interdepartmental Research Centre on Natural Risks in Mountain and Hilly Environments, University of Turin, Italy

Mauro Bassignana - Institut Agricole Régional - Aosta, Italy

Logistics and programme manager:
Danilo Godone - Geohazard Monitoring Group, CNR IRPI, Turin, Italy, Research Centre on Natural Risks in Mountain and Hilly Environments, University of Turin, Italy

Technical coordinator:

Rosalaura Romeo - Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Rome, Italy


Excellent command of English
Advanced scientific degree 




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