Global Synthesis on Threats to Mountains, and the Benefits they Deliver

Mountain ecosystems and the  human  communities  that  inhabit them deliver critical resources—such as fresh water and timber—to over half the planet’s human population. Despite their importance, there has been no global assessment of threats to mountain systems, even as they face unprecedented challenges to their sustainability. With survey data from 57 mountain sites

worldwide, we test our understanding of the types of stresses that are threatening mountain systems as well as the resources and benefits that come from mountains. We find that mountain systems worldwide are experiencing both gradual and abrupt climatic, economic, and governance changes. One of the most ubiquitous challenges facing mountain systems is that policies directly affecting mountain systems are being made by those living outside of the mountains themselves. Mountains that support primarily subsistence‐oriented livelihoods in the developing world, especially mixed agriculture and animal husbandry systems, deliver abundant services but are also most at risk. Addressing the complex challenges facing mountain systems will require partnerships among researchers, stakeholders, and decision makers to jointly identify the types of futures they desire and the actions to achieve these. This approach will address knowledge gaps in mountains while simultaneously focusing on critical issues of poverty and food security.

Download the Publication Here: Kleinetal_2019_EarthsFuture

Julia Klein, Colorado State University USA
Catherine Tucker, University of Florida USA
Anne Nolin, Oregon State University USA
Robin Reid, Colorado State University USA
Kelly Hopping, Stanford University USA
Cara Steger, Colorado State University USA
Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, ETH, Switzerland
Sandra Lavorel, CNRS, France
Sybil Brunner, ETH, Switzerland
Bettina Weibel, ETH, Switzerland
Emily Yeh, University of Colorado USA
Patrick Bourgeron, University of Colorado USA
Van Bustic, University of California USA
Edwin Castellanos, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Xiaodong Chen, North Carolina State University
Shikui Dong, China Normal University
Greg Greenwood, Mountain Research Initiative, Switzerland
Margreth Keiler, University of Bern, Switzerland
Birgit Müller, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
Anthony Prato, University of Missouri USA
Roman Seidl, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Karina Yager, Stonybrook University USA

Plus the Mountain Sentinels Network members who contributed survey data: M. Abbot, G. Bowser, C. Carpenter, G. Cumming, P. Evangelista, M. Fernandez-Giminez, C. Flint, B. Forbes, D. Gerkey, M. Ghorbani, J. Haider, R. Ghate, B. Karna, D. Kauneckis, K. Kulbhushan, S. Leisz, R. Marchant, B. Martin-Lopez, B. Nakilez, M. Price, D. Savchuk, M. Šmid, E. Sproles, A. Taber, U. Tappeiner, G. Tevzadze, K. Ueno

Interested in getting involved?