Mountain forests

 

Covering over 9 million square kilometres of the earth’s surface, mountain forests represent a remarkable 23 percent of the earth’s forest cover.

Healthy mountain forests are crucial to the ecological health of the world. They protect watersheds that supply freshwater to more than half of humankind. They also harbour wildlife, provide food and fodder for mountain peoples and are important sources of timber and non-wood products. Moreover, they protect the earth and contribute to shielding the atmosphere from CO2 emissions.

Protecting these forests and making sure they are carefully managed is an important step towards sustainable mountain development. In the last decades, tropical mountain forests have been disappearing at an astounding rate. Deforestation is generally driven by population growth, the expansion of intensive agriculture, uncertain land tenure, inequitable land distribution and the absence of strong and stable institutions.

Crucially, mountain forests perform a protective function against natural hazards, so that when forest cover is lost and the land is left unprotected, runoff and soil erosion increase, provoking landslides, avalanches and floods, to the detriment of villages, transport systems, human infrastructure and of the food security of vulnerable populations.

Putting power back into the hands of mountain people is one important step towards alleviating their poverty and, in turn, protecting mountain forests. Measures that could accomplish these aims include providing incentives for biodiversity and agro-biodiversity conservation as well as the inclusion sustainable forest management plans into national policies.  

 

6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas

6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas

event

National Parks Austria and Hohe Tauern National Park will host the 6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Salzburg, Austria. Researchers and protected areas managers, as well as individuals from government, business, non-governmental organizations and the public who are interested in...

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Mount Kenya Three Peaks Climb

Mount Kenya Three Peaks Climb

event

The Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) invites you to come and climb the three peaks of Mount Kenya to raise vital mountain conservation funds for the MKT, an NGO working to protect the wildlife, forest and people of Africa's second highest peak. The climbing options available include Lenana (non-technical),...

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Trees, forests and water: cool insights for a hot world

Trees, forests and water: cool insights for a hot world

publication

Forests’ many life-sustaining functions as prime regulators within the water, energy and carbon cycles are still not universally recognized, a fact that the world ignores at its peril, a new article cautions. To address climate change and land misuse, global action should be realigned to prioritize trees’ and forests’ key...

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Online digest on mountain climate change

Online digest on mountain climate change

news

The 50th issue of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) thematic digest on mountain climate change is now available online. Prepared for members of the Mountain Forum, Mountain Partnership and other regional and global networks, this issue includes ICIMOD Regional Member Countries’ news, global news and...

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United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2016)

United Nations General Assembly Resolution: Sustainable Mountain Development (2016)

publication

Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Sustainable mountain development at 71st Session. A/71/463/Add.10

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Mountain Research and Development issue online

Mountain Research and Development issue online

news

The articles in this issue of Mountain Research and Development derive from papers presented at the 2015 Perth III “Mountains of Our Future Earth” conference and align themselves with research themes of Future Earth. The papers feature a Canadian software tool to compare mountain photos for environmental monitoring,...

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