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. 

CBD COP 15

CBD COP 15

event

With China in the Chair as President, the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity will reconvene 5 to 17 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada, where a new world agreement to safeguard nature is expected to be adopted.

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Photo by Vakhidova Maryam

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Inclusive and resilient mountain food systems: Opportunities and best practices - policy brief

Inclusive and resilient mountain food systems: Opportunities and best practices - policy brief

publication

Mountain food systems are unique, complex, diverse, and linked with cultures of local communities and indigenous peoples. They shape landscapes, and support biodiversity and nutrition security worldwide. Currently, these systems are playing an important for providing ecosystem services, sustaining the livelihoods of 1.1 billion people living in the world’s mountains...

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8th European Symposium on South American Camelids and 4th European Meeting on Fibre Animals

8th European Symposium on South American Camelids and 4th European Meeting on Fibre Animals

event

Following the tradition of previous events, the Symposium will cover a broad range of topics related to the breeding, husbandry and sustainability of South American domestic and wild Camelids, wool sheep, Cashmere and Angora goats, Angora rabbit and all other fibre mammals in Europe and throughout the World.

The invitation to...

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Bringing mountain producers to Terra Madre

Bringing mountain producers to Terra Madre

news

In the framework of a collaboration with UNDP’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), the Mountain Partnership Secretariat will be supporting a series of workshops at Terra Madre, Turin, Italy.

Eleven delegates of eight producer organizations, coming from six countries (Guatemala, Lesotho, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda and Uganda) will participate...

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United Nations General Assembly Report: Sustainable mountain development (2022)

United Nations General Assembly Report: Sustainable mountain development (2022)

publication

Report of the Secretary-General on Sustainable Mountain Development

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Mountain representatives to meet in Aspen for Mountain Partnership Global Meeting

Mountain representatives to meet in Aspen for Mountain Partnership Global Meeting

peak to peak

The September 2022 issue of Peak to Peak provides an overview of what to expect at the upcoming Mountain Partnership Global Meeting, to be held on 26-29 September 2022 in Aspen. Top news stories include a feature story on the latest film festival to become a member of the Mountain...

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