Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 15.4.2 – (a) Mountain Green Cover Index; and (b) Proportion of Degraded Mountain Area

The Mountain Green Cover Index (MGCI) (Indicator 15.4.2.a) measures changes in the area of green vegetation in mountain areas (forest, shrubs and pasture land, and cropland), while the Proportion of degraded mountain land (Indicator 15.4.2.b) monitors the extent of degraded mountain land as a result of land cover change of a given country and for given reporting year. This information will help identify the status of conservation of mountain environments in order to measure progress towards SDG Target 15.4.

By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.

Mountain Green Cover Index and Proportion of Degraded Mountain Area


This indicator helps to ensure that mountains are efficiently managed, and a better balance is struck between conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Key results

Mountain Green Cover Index

Global mountain green cover has remained stable at about three quarters of the world’s mountain area over the period from 2000 to 2020. 

An analysis of mountain green cover and its changes over time can provide information about the status of mountain ecosystems and their capacity to support sustainable development. SDG Indicator 15.4.2, the mountain green cover index, has remained roughly stable at about 73 percent over the 2000–2020 period, with a slight decrease (0.09 percentage points) since 2015. The role of bioclimatic factors in the level of mountain green cover is evident at the regional level. Tropical and subtropical regions characterized by low- or mid-altitude mountain ranges tend to show the highest green cover values (i.e. Oceania). Conversely, regions characterized by high-altitude mountain ranges located in temperate and boreal zones, where mountain environmental conditions are less favourable to vegetation growth, tend to show lower green cover values (i.e. Northern America and Europe). Regions with a high proportion of arid areas, such as Northern Africa, also tend to register lower mountain green cover values.  

Proportion of Degraded Mountain Area

The first dataset is expected to be published in the first half of 2023. An analysis of the current situation and trends will then be prepared based on this data.

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