Welcome to the February edition of the MRI Global Newsletter.
This month we've been in Quito, Ecuador, where MRI Executive Director Carolina Adler participated in the second lead author meeting for the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). An intense few days of fruitful discussion concluded with an outreach event at which Dr. Adler spoke for mountains in a presentation to the media and wider public - more on that below.
And the mountain research community has been busy too! Read on to discover the latest stories, publications, and opportunities from across the global network.
COMING UP ON THE MRI'S AGENDA IN MARCH-APRIL
Second meeting of the MRI Principal Investigators and MRI Strategy Meeting, 6 March, Bern, Switzerland.
Management Committee and Executive Board meeting of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), 23-25 March, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Mountain Partnership Steering Committee meeting, April, FAO Headquarters/Rome, Italy.
The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, or SROCC, came another step closer to being realized this month as authors met for an intensive few days in Quito – MRI Executive Director Dr. Carolina Adler among them.
The SROCC is one of three special reports that the IPCC, the leading body for assessing the science related to climate change, will be releasing over the next two years. Containing a careful assessment of changes in the ocean and cryosphere – the areas of the planet in which water is found in its solid state as ice or snow – the SROCC report aims to support policymakers in their understanding of the physical and social dimentions of climate change, the risks and challenges we face as a result, and our options for adapting to them.
Submissions for oral and poster presentations are now being invited for the 2nd International Conference on Mountain Futures, which will take place in Yunnan, China, 4-8 June 2018.
The Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies (CMES), in collaboration with the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), is now inviting contributions for the 2nd International Conference on Mountain Futures, with a focus on 'Ecosystem Rhythms, Land Systems, and Sustainable Livelihoods.'
Euromontana is undertaking a survey on pastoralism and permanent grasslands in the European mountains in order to compare sustainable management practices.
Pastoralism - the raising of livestock - is an agricultural practice prevalent in mountainous areas. This is due to the fact that it enables the development of territories of low agronomic value; areas that are otherwise difficult to access or utilize. The continuation of pastoral activities faces several challenges however. These include difficulties linked to the economic context, climate change, land use pressure, and the challenge of organising grazing herds in the context of seasonal territory use.
Two grant programmes for early-career researchers wishing to attend the 2018 World Social Science Forum have been announced.
The World Social Science Forum (WSSF) aims to provide a platform for researchers, funders, policymakers, and other stakeholders to debate topics of global significance and to determine future priorities for international social science. Under the theme 'Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures,' this year the WSSF will take place 25-28 September in Fukuoka, Japan.
Taking place in Zurich in April this year, Swiss Polar Day is an opportunity for researchers to learn about current developments in international polar sciences, help define new priorities for Swiss polar research, and network with polar scientists.
On 4 April, the Swiss scientific community will come together at the ETH Zurich to listen to international keynote speakers active in the Arctic, Antarctic, and high-altitude regions.
The Journal of Alpine Research has issued a call for papers looking at the responses of social actors to the various challenges faced by mountains today.
Proposed articles should make explicit reference to mountain territories as category or context, and proposals focusing on social innovations meeting needs specific to the inhabitants of mountain territories are of particular interest. Contributions bearing on examples located in mountain territories are also welcome.
A new award seeks to promote the work of early-career researchers into mountain areas and cryospheric processes.
The Complutense University of Madrid's research group Physical Geography in High Mountains and the Guadarrama Monitoring Network have opened a call for applicants for the 'Young Researcher Innovation Award in Cryosphere Science and Mountain Areas.'
MSc and PhD students conducting thesis research work on mountain tourism and recreation are invited to submit poster proposals for the Sustainable Summits Conference (SSC 2018), 12-14 June in Chamonix, France.
Poster proposals should closely align with the conference themes: 1) Role of high mountains in today's societies; 2) Climate change: high mountains on the front line; or 3) Human activities in the high mountains: impacts and solutions. A small select number of poster proposals will be chosen for presentation at the conference, with prizes available for best judged posters by conference attendees.
THE TREE ON TOP OF THE WORLD Polylepis trees grow on higher altitudes than any others in the world. Ian Ramsey and Heidi Asbjornsen share their experiences from the field work in the páramos experimental sites in Ecuador. While working in the extreme conditions in the Andean highlands, thoughts go well beyond the task at hand.
LICHEN PERSISTENCE AND EVOLUTION IN DRAKENSBERG FOREST FRAGMENTS To date, there has been almost no research on lichen biogeography, survival strategies, persistence, and the mechanics of gene flow in South Africa’s ancient Drakensberg mountain landscape. Afromont is therefore preparing to initiate a small study on mountain forest lichens on the Drakensberg escarpment.
This article published in Ecohydrology highlights the importance of studying ecohydrological in tropical systems.
Tropical ecosystems offer a unique setting for understanding ecohydrological processes, but to date, such investigations have been limited. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of studying these processes—specifically, how they are being affected by the transformative changes taking place in the tropics—and to offer an agenda for future research.
This article published in Ecohydrology identifies key knowledge gaps on vegetation distribution, functional traits, and ecohydrological processes and feedbacks in tropical montane ecosystems.
Montane ecosystems are known for their high numbers of endemic species, unique climate conditions, and wide variety of ecosystem services such as water supply and carbon storage. Although many ecohydrological and climatic studies of montane environments have been carried out in temperate and boreal regions, few have been done in Neotropical regions. Hence, the objective of this review is to synthesize the existing literature on the main factors (biotic and abiotic) that influence vegetation distribution, functional traits, and ecohydrological processes and feedbacks in tropical montane ecosystems and to identify key knowledge gaps. Most of the literature used includes work conducted in Neotropical montane rainforests, cloud forests, and grass/scrublands (e.g., páramos, punas, and campos de altitude/rupestres).
Two new studies on glacial lakes in the Patagonian Andes provide observations and further insights on the effects of climate change in the region, from formartion of new glacial lakes to changes in biotic diversity in glacier-fed systems.
The first article, glacial lakes in the Central and Patagonian Andes, is a first large-scale census of glacial lakes in Chile and Argentina, providing a better understanding of lake development in this region and a basis for Glacial Lake Outbust Floods (GLOF) risk assessment. The second article, on biotic diversity in glacier-fed systems, describes how these isolated, small glacier-fed streams - and the systems they support - appear highly vulnerable to global warming.
AfroMont, an online knowledge-sharing platform, was initiated in 2007 by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) in Switzerland to focus attention on the diverse issues and challenges facing the mountainous regions of Africa. The specific aim of Afromont is to showcase experiences from research, field projects and best practice in sustainable mountain development and climate change adaptation in African countries, which may be useful or implemented in other countries in the continent.
A new thrust for 2018 will be to engage with African media to support the investigative reporting of a wide range of climate change, social, ecological and sustainable development issues in Africa as they relate to mountains.