MRI News

MRD October2018 Cover smallThe latest issue of the open access journal Mountain Research and Development is now available online – and contains two articles related to the MRI co-led GEO Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME) initiative!

The latest issue of Mountain Research and Development (MRD) asks the question, 'what makes a mountain a mountain?' Answers to this question are complex, and have significant implications. As Roger Sayre and his co-authors – MRI Executive Director Carolina Adler among them – write in this issue of MRD, "knowing exactly where mountain ecosystems are distributed on the planet is a precursor to conserving them."

Read more: GEO-GNOME Featured in Mountain Research and Development

yosemite smallAn estimated three-quarters of the water used by farms, ranches, and dairies in California originates as snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, but the future viability of that resource is projected to be at heightened risk due to global climate change.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of California, Irvine (UCI) researchers argue that a 1.0 degree Celsius increase in the global average winter temperature will lead to a 20 percent jump in the likelihood of below-average snow accumulation in the high country, resulting in lower spring runoff. In this article, the authors describe how snow water equivalent, an important measure of water availability, and the elevation of the snowpack respond to different levels of warming.

Read more: Reduced Sierra Nevada snowmelt runoff may threaten California agriculture

marmot 1960Mountains are among the most biodiverse places on Earth, but scientists have struggled to fully understand why they are so important in creating high species richness. An international research team has now shed new light on answering this long-standing question in a paper published in Nature Geoscience earlier this month.

The team found that mountain building, through a process of uplift and erosion, continuously reshapes the landscape and is responsible for creating habitat heterogeneity in an elevational gradient. "The complex interplay between growing mountains and climate generates plenty of opportunities for the creation of new species," says Carina Hoorn, Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam and senior author of a paper summarizing the team's findings. "Although climate and ruggedness of the terrain were previously thought to be the principal cause for mountain biodiversity, our global synthesis now makes clear that geological history plays a paramount role in this process," explains Hoorn.

Read more: Mountains Create Biodiversity

caucasus smallSocial Innovation in Marginalized Rural Areas (SIMRA), a EU Horizon 2020 project, has published a collection of inspiring examples of social innovation in mountain areas, with case studies covering issues as wide-ranging as governance, ecosystem management, mountain services, and local development. 

SIMRA aims to advance understanding of social innovation and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry, and rural development in marginalised rural areas across Europe and around the Mediterranean, including non-EU countries. As part of this work, it has published a series of brochures that aim to concretely illustrate social innovation through the presentation of local ongoing initiatives.

Read more: New Publication | Social Innovation in Mountain Areas

Dolomites SueTAfroMont is a communication and networking organisation interested in research and policy relating to African mountains. 

Afromont aims to highlight experiences from research, field projects and innovation and best practice in sustainable mountain development and climate change adaptation in African countries.

Photo: Dolomites in South Tyrol. AfroMont attended a EURAC conference in nearby Bolzano, Italy.

Read more: African Mountain Research Times - October 2018

vietnam 3059653 640Two MRI-led sessions focusing on the application and use of scenario tools for sustainable mountain development are seeking contributions and participation. Deadline for abstract submission is 30 October 2018. 

The Global Land Programme (GLP) is organising its 4th Open Science Meeting under the topic 'Transforming Land Systems for People and Nature.' With a wide diversity of research, immersive sessions, and training sessions, the conference will address three themes: what are the visions for the planetary land system; what do people want from land; and how do we support transformation? This conference will take place in Bern, Switzerland, 24-26 April 2019.

Read more: Call for Abstracts: MRI Sessions at GLP 4th Open Science Meeting

mountain tundra 2734105 1920Plant communities in Arctic and alpine regions are growing taller as a result of a warming climate. This is according to the results of a huge, collaborative research effort exploring tundra vegetation change, which were published in the journal Nature this week. 

Rapid climate warming in the Arctic and alpine regions is driving changes in the structure and composition of plant communities, with important consequences for how this vast and sensitive ecosystem functions. A new paper, published in Nature this week, shows that tundra plant communities are getting taller, which is mostly due to new, taller species moving in. “This is the first time that a biome-scale study has been carried out to get to the root of the critical role that plants play in this rapidly-warming part of the planet” says one of the core authors, Dr. Isla Meyers-Smith.of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Read more: Vegetation Change Across the Tundra Biome