The World Biodiversity Forum – taking place in Davos, Switzerland, 23-28 February 2020 – is now accepting proposals for oral and poster contributions. Keep mountain topics in the global biodiversity agenda by submitting your proposal to one of the three MRI hosted sessions taking place, or to one of the other 30 sessions offered. Deadline for submissions is 10 November 2019.

The World Bio­di­ver­si­ty Fo­rum will bring lead­ing re­searchers, ear­ly ca­reer re­searchers, prac­ti­tion­ers, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dif­fer­ent sec­tors, de­ci­sion-mak­ers, and so­ci­etal ac­tors to­geth­er in order to have a con­ver­sa­tion about the kind of fu­ture we want for bio­di­ver­si­ty. The Fo­rum will pro­vide a plat­form for ex­change, cov­er­ing a wide range of per­spec­tives and cap­tur­ing a di­ver­si­ty of vi­sions. Through this, it aims to re­de­fine and set the agen­da for bio­di­ver­si­ty as a fo­cal point over the next 10 years in cur­rent themes and top­ics across sec­tors.

The Forum is now ac­cepting pro­pos­als for oral and poster con­tri­bu­tions. Con­tri­bu­tions may ei­ther be pre­sent­ed as part of the the­mat­ic ses­sions, or in open ses­sions. Poster or oral con­tri­bu­tions are con­sid­ered as be­ing equal, and will have the same sta­tus at the con­fer­ence.


MRI hosted mountain sessions:

101S | Understanding cultural, ecosystem and environmental diversity across the world's mountains to develop pathways towards a better future for mountain systems

Session Conveners: Robert Marchant, University of York, Ricardo Grau, University of Tukuman, Julia Klein, Colorado State University, Aida Cuni-Sanchez, University of York and Christine Schmitt, University of Bonn.

Mountains provide an ideal natural laboratory to investigate the evolution of social-ecological systems, and to assess the current challenges and opportunities that this past evolution has created. Mountains have been centres of past development and conduits for the spread of crops, populations and technologies. They were and remain a locus for cultural interaction, as manifested recently in many parts of the world at the local level through pastoral-agricultural-urban interactions over access to space and resources, particularly water.

Drivers such as climate change, high population growth, over-exploitation of resources, poor and ineffective governance and rapid land-use change are all combining to compromise the potential of the world’s mountains to continue sustaining the flow of Ecosystem Services, including food, timber, water, carbon storage, dry-season pastures, nutrient cycling, soil formation, among many others. The growing evidence for elevation-dependent warming has important implications for the mass balance of winter snow accumulation and associated runoff; critical in a future characterized by greater water-scarcity. The ecosystem services provided by mountains thus extend downstream, affecting farming communities, urban centres, ecosystems and biodiversity in general, including the species that reside in these highland biodiversity hotspots.

The session will:

  • provide a synthesis on our current knowledge of the world’s mountain ecosystems, the services they deliver, threats and needed conservation interventions
  • provide an understanding of the past evolution of the mountain social ecological system to showcase the value of the historical deeper time perspectives
  • assess and quantify the imbalance between threat and protection of the world’s mountains and
  • create a network of stakeholders working in these the world’s mountains to further inform and underpin research in the world’s mountains.

The session will discuss how the world’s mountains protected area network can be more effective in conserving mountain ecosystems while delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services that underpin human welfare and livelihoods. As the world’s mountains are important for multiple cultures, we will also provide a forum to discuss how the conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems can contribute towards preserving mountain cultural heritage and traditions. The main outputs of the session will be: 1) a policy brief on the world’s mountains, current status, threats, and desired future, 2) a short film on the session, 3) a special issue in an appropriate journal and 4) the creation of a network of experts working on these ecosystems that will feed into the Mountain Research Initiative.

After the congress, the newly created network of stakeholders working in these ecosystems will be linked to other networks on mountain ecosystems, such as the Mountain Research Initiative and the Ecosystem Services Partnership.

Oral presentations upon invitation only, abstracts for poster presentations welcome.


126S | Selecting relevant essential variables for monitoring and understanding drivers and processes of change in mountain social-ecological systems

Session conveners: Carolina Adler, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), Elisa Palazzi, ISAC-CNR, Davnah Payne, Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), Roger Sayre, USGS

Mountains worldwide host rich biodiversity, are home to millions of people, and provide upland and lowland inhabitants with vital ecosystem services and resources for their livelihoods. However, mountain regions are highly dynamic environments and undergo constant changes in their climate, natural hazards, land use, and in their political and socio-economic context. These changes are often amplified compared to lowland areas and driven by a multitude of biophysical and socio-economic factors. Accordingly, effective policies and management approaches that account for these changes are needed to safeguard the natural assets that underpin human wellbeing and ecosystems along elevational gradients and thereby adequately respond to international agendas such as the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity or the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations. These approaches in turn require effective monitoring frameworks that offer relevant, regular, timely, and harmonized data to generate information that responds to reporting needs. Incorporating Essential Variables (EVs) into monitoring frameworks offers a means to harmonize the collection of data pertaining to drivers and processes of change that are context-relevant, in this case through the in situ and remote monitoring of relevant biodiversity and societal variables from the local to the global scale. However, given their remoteness, their steep environmental gradients, diverse habitats and microclimates, diverse socio-cultural contexts, and complex social-ecological systems interactions, mountains are particularly difficult to monitor. To facilitate harmonised data compilation, essential mountain biodiversity and societal variables need to be identified that fulfil a set of criteria that incudes scalability, temporal sensitivity, feasibility, and relevance in mountains, specifically.

Through initial rounds of experts consultations and two subsequent workshops, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME) has outlined the identification of relevant Essential Variables (EVs) as a key activity and objective in its existing (2017-2019) and continuing (2020-2022) Work Plans. The specific goal is to identify sets of Essential Mountain Climate, Biodiversity, and Societal Variables (EMCVs, EMBVs, and EMSVs, respectively) that respond to monitoring and data needs. In this session, we summarize the preliminary outcomes of these workshops, presenting the climatic and social-ecological processes identified as important and relevant in mountain environments.

Our key objective in this session is to collect input and feedback regarding these sets of variables proposed for their monitoring and for the understanding of the processes at play. Those inputs will serve to validate the selection process and outcomes and continue their refinement.

Oral presentations upon invitation only, abstracts for poster presentations welcome.


129S | The role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in adapting to global change

Session convenors: Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, ETH Zurich, Aino Kulonen, Mountain Research Initiative and Andreas Heinimann, University of Bern

Mountain ecosystems contribute critically to ecosystem services for people living inside and outside these areas. Their compressed topography, vertical gradients, and isolation make them particularly vulnerable to global change, calling for effective coping mechanisms. While there are many perspectives on what a desirable future should be, focusing on the pathways to adapt to global change helps highlighting trade-offs between the ecosystem services provided at various sequenced decision points along the adaptation pathway.

Taking into consideration the mentioned challenges for defining adaptation pathways the following questions arise:

  • Which characteristics of the ecosystems and which ecosystem services are essential to allow adaptation?
  • What are the main path dependencies in the ecosystems and the socio-ecological systems limiting future adaptation options?
  • What are the main trade-offs in biodiversity and ecosystem services along the pathways?

Objectives: Guided by these questions, the session is dedicated to diagnose adaptation pathway challenges across mountain ecosystems and socio-ecological systems. The focus will be on both challenges resulting from changes in the ecosystems along the pathways to opportunities emerging from learning and co-creating solutions along the pathways. Showing some international practice-oriented examples, we will discuss and synthesize ecological and socio-economic principles in enabling adaptation pathways.

Potential outcome of session: Joint paper (ISI-referenced publications derived from session presentations and results).

Oral presentations upon invitation only, abstracts for poster presentations welcome.


Submit a proposal. 

Dead­line for all sub­mis­sions is 10 No­vem­ber 2019.

View full list of sessions here.

We look for­ward to re­ceiv­ing your con­tri­bu­tions to the World Bio­di­ver­si­ty Fo­rum.


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