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. 

International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development, 2022

International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development, 2022

publication

On 16 December 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution proclaiming 2022 the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development at the proposal of the Kyrgyz Government. The resolution was sponsored by 94 governments and invites the Mountain Partnership to facilitate the observance of this Year.

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Sustainable mountain tourism: FAO

Sustainable mountain tourism: FAO's high-level virtual event to mark International Mountain Day

peak to peak

The December 2021 issue of Peak to Peak announces the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' official celebration of International Mountain Day 2021, to be held on 10 December. Top news stories cover mountain-related events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the unveiling of a rooftop farm...

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FAO unveils rooftop farm at Rome headquarters

FAO unveils rooftop farm at Rome headquarters

news

FAO has installed a prototype rooftop farm at its Rome headquarters to highlight how innovative technology can help increase access to healthy diets from sustainable agri-food systems.

Housed entirely in mobile, triangle-shaped modules made of corrosion-retarding steel, the farm will be equipped with an intelligent automated system that ensures crops get...

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FAO

FAO's Work in Mountains: Building the Road to Recovery for Mountain Peoples

publication

This article was written by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat for the Mountain Research and Development journal. The COVID-19 crisis has added urgency to an already difficult situation in mountains. Mountain communities are highly dependent on agriculture, tourism, and remittances for their survival, and their vulnerabilities to a range of challenges—including...

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University of Milan launches mountain education manifesto at Expo 2020 Dubai

University of Milan launches mountain education manifesto at Expo 2020 Dubai

news

The University of Milan’s UNIMONT Centre launched a youth-centred manifesto for the promotion of a sustainable and lively future in mountain areas globally at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Mountain Education and Innovation Manifesto (MEIM) was created through an international consultation involving over 100 youth from 28 countries around the world....

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Winner of GROW Summer School agrobiodiversity innovation contest announced

Winner of GROW Summer School agrobiodiversity innovation contest announced

peak to peak

The October 2021 issue of Peak to Peak announces the winner of the GROW Summer School agrobiodiversity innovation contest. Top news stories cover two mountain-related UNFCCC Pre-Cop26 side events and updates on mountains in the Expo 2020 Dubai programme. Peak to Peak continues with a look at upcoming events in...

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