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MRI Blog

Regional and thematic networks play a key role in advancing global change research in mountains. Throughout 2015, the MRI will host weekly blog posts from various networks across the globe...tune in to learn about the key questions, challenges and needs driving mountain research! And don't be shy: join the discussion!

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Recent blog posts
  The human and social consequences of global change at Mariepskop mountain, South Africa By Sipiwe Janet Ngwenya, Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Pretoria, Hatfield campus, Pretoria, South Africa.  Email The Mariepskop Global Change Research Project is a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) initiative with a multi-disciplinary approac...
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  Bale Eco-region, Ethiopia – SHARE project on Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions and Improved Well-being of Highland and Lowland Communities- by Daniel van Rooijen My name is Daniel van Rooijen and I work as a post-doctoral scientist at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), based at the regional office for East Africa and the Nile...
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The diffusion of ideas strongly influences how societies grow and evolve. The wheel, for example, was an idea that rolled humanity into a faster and more efficient future. Scientific cooperation also has “aha!” moments that shape how scientists work together to solve societal challenges. In 1994, a “wheel” of scientific cooperation was invented with the launch of Forum Alpinum, a regional conferen...
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One month after the first of two major earthquakes in Nepal, 38 villages, 834 households and 4600 people continue to wait for substantial relief efforts and remain uncertain about the future. The first earthquake, which hit on April 25, severely damaged villages in Pharak, in the southern part of the Everest region in Nepal. When the second earthquake hit on May 12, what remained of villages afte...
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Funded by MRI and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, a workshop on Human-Nature Relationships and Governance in Mountain Social-Ecological Systems was held May 4-8, 2015 in the Lungau Biosphere Reserve in Austria. A diverse group of experts from various disciplines and regions of the world gathered to share ideas. Workshop details can be found here. After an opening dinner in a castle dating from ...
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Posted by on in MIREN
This is the fascinating tale of how bilateral collaborations triggered by a global network help tackle a problem of continent-wide scale.   Chamomile (Matricaria) invasion in the Andean mountains. Since the beginning of the European colonisation of the Americas more than five centuries ago, South America has seen an untold number of visitors coming from all corners of Europe. Underneath th...
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Lobbying for mountain research with the European funding agencies is one of the current projects of the CH-AT coordination office in Bern. In two meetings in Vienna and Bern, the core group of a “Mountain Research Advocacy Network” developed an ambitious plan for 2015.  Austria and Switzerland as mountainous countries are spearheading the effort to ensure that mountain research topics have a...
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Posted by on in The MRI
I finally made it to the Pyrenees! When one lives in the Swiss Alps, the logic of visiting that other alpine range in Europe is not blindingly obvious, but as Director of MRI I thought that it was my duty to see what this other mountain range was all about. Besides the mountains themselves, I wanted to visit two institutions that I had heard of over the past few years, the Observatoire Homme-Mili...
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Páramos are high elevation ecosystems (3000-4000 m a.s.l.) that develop above the tree line and below the perennial snow line. They are primarily comprised by grasslands and a series of wetlands, lakes, and small ponds. Water that originates from páramo ecosystems in the northern Andes sustains the socio-economic development of populations settled in their surroundings. These natural water towers ...
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As I’ve done for at least the last six years, I attended the EGU conference in Vienna just a few weeks ago. But unlike my other EGU experiences, I didn’t just give a talk or present a poster; I also led a splinter meeting (“Elevation-Dependent Warming: What’s Next?”) to brainstorm the strategic next steps of this international, interdisciplinary research effort. Hosted by the Mountain Research Ini...
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A US biotechnology start-up company has a solution to rhino poaching The statistics of rhino poaching the disappearance of the world’s various rhino species and sub-species does not make for cheerful reading. The fate of rhinos in most of their range is precarious and poaching unrelenting, and Africa's western black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipesis) is now officially extinct according to Intern...
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When you think of Japan, do you think of mountains with great natural diversity, or are you more likely to think of technology and manufacturing? Although people often associate Japan with islands and volcanoes, what many people don’t realize is that over 70% of Japan is covered by mountainous forests. Mt. Fuji (3,776 m) is a famous example, but many other mountain ranges exceeding 2000 meters of ...
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  Ruined buildings in Kathmandu. Source: USA Today Our common humanity when disasters strike Everyone seems to know someone who was involved in the 25th April Nepal earthquake which was recorded as a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.  More than 200 climbers have been rescued around Mount Everest, which was struck by avalanches of rock and ice after the quake, and we read that Google executive...
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Big mountains, small research spaces: How not to step on each other's toes in the Khumbu Himal region by Lindsey Nicholson: It has become clear over the last few years that the Hindu Kush - Karakoram - Himalayan (HKH) glaciers remain a bit of an unknown quantity in the context of what is known about ongoing global glacier changes. This, in conjunction with features such as the Karakoram anomaly, ...
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Image result for Garissa university
A blow to academic freedom in Africa by Sue Taylor: Two situations have shocked us in the research community of Africa. The first was the early April terrorist attack on Garissa University College in eastern Kenya that killed 147 students and injured over 70.  This was a dark moment for African universities, for the African youth and for learning and research in general.  We would hope ...
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Posted by on in Americas
Years of No Winter: R3 and the Blob by Connie Millar: CIRMOUNT’s mountain climate conference (MtnClim) is modeled after the popular Pacific Climate Workshop (PACLIM), which alternates biennially with MtnClim. PACLIM 2015 convened at Asilomar State Conference Center on the Monterey coast of California, March 8-11. Although PACLIM historically emphasizes Pacific rim and oceanic climate issues, curr...
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Conflicts within the environmental community by Greg Greenwood:  Instead of recounting the slow but steady progress of MRI activities (e.g. three different Synthesis Workshops, a launching workshop for mountain observatories, preparations for Perth III, etc.) I would like to direct your attention to a recent piece in the New Yorker by Jonathan Franzen entitled Carbon Capture, which has as a ...
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Posted by on in Science for the Carpathians S4C
Changing mountains by Dominik Kaim: We definitely live in interesting times. The dynamics of social and environmental changes in the Carpathians indicates that the mountains will soon much differ from what we are accustomed to. Most of changes we observe (in climate, biodiversity, landscape and societies) are interrelated. One of the outstanding and relatively visible indicators of change is the ...
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Landscape approaches: better tools to boost conservation of Andean forests by Manuel Peralvo. Landscapes are a keystone in the study and synthesis of social and environmental processes. They are part of a wide range of approaches that explicitly integrate spatial heterogeneity, path dependency and fluxes and feedbacks between people and the resources and ecosystems they use. Landscape approaches...
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Ain’t no mountain high enough - the Mountain Invasion Research Network by Jonas Lembrechts: Please, allow me to take you on a hike. It might be an imaginary hike, but I promise it will be interesting nevertheless. We will take a long and winding road from the warm and safe lowlands all the way up to a cold and icy mountain pass. Whether you imagine starting your hike in the Andes, on Hawaii, or i...
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