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 Peoples' 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. 

2nd International Conference on

2nd International Conference on ''Mountains: Biodiversity, Landscapes and Cultures''

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The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) and Western Caspian University are organizing the 2nd International Conference on “Mountains: Cultures, Landscapes & Biodiversity" in Baku, Azerbaijan at Western Caspian University on 5-6 November 2024.

The conference's main topics will be:

  • Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment
  • Global ecological challenges in mountain regions
  • Mountain cultures and Mountain...
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UN Biodiversity Conference 2024 (CBD COP 16)

UN Biodiversity Conference 2024 (CBD COP 16)

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The UN Biodiversity Conference 2024 will be held in Colombia from 21 October to 1 November 2024. The conference will encompass the Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 16), the Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as...

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Mountain forests masterclass: Insights from the field

Mountain forests masterclass: Insights from the field

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In the leadup to the 27th Committee on Forests, this event is dedicated to spotlighting success stories from young mountain foresters operating in the field. Young mountain professionals, including members of the Mountain Youth Hub (MYH), will come together to share their expertise and engage in a Q&A session.

The event...

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3rd World Biodiversity Forum

3rd World Biodiversity Forum

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Un­der the theme "From Sci­ence to Ac­tion", the third World Bio­di­ver­si­ty Fo­rum (WBF) will bring to­geth­er re­searchers across all disc­iplines of bio­di­ver­si­ty sci­ence with prac­ti­tion­ers and so­ci­etal ac­tors to ex­plore how to move from sci­ence to ac­tions and so­lu­tions to con­serve bio­di­ver­si­ty and forge a path to­wards trans­for­ma­tion for sus­tain­abil­i­ty.

The...

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Joint action for the Alps – conserve, connect, and restore

Joint action for the Alps – conserve, connect, and restore

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The upcoming conference "Joint action for the Alps – conserve, connect, and restore" will be held from 12 to 14 June 2024 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. This international conference is jointly organized by the Slovenian Presidency of the Alpine Convention and the International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps...

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Side event: Human mobility in the context of climate change in mountain areas – evidence, gaps and priorities

Side event: Human mobility in the context of climate change in mountain areas – evidence, gaps and priorities

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The International Organization for Migration will be hosting a side event at the 3rd High-Level International Conference on International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028 in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan. The event will be a moderated discussion held in person on 11 June (time and location to be confirmed).

The event will...

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