New Publication

In the climate change research community, ‘Loss and Damage’ is an approach that refers to the assessment and acceptance of the unavoidable negative impacts caused by climate change.[1] Although Loss and Damage was born as a concept as early as the nineties, it wasn’t until 2007 that it would be formally referred to in the Bali Action Plan, and later in 2013 when the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage would be created. Loss and Damage continues to be a hotly debated topic, in part due to the reality that the most vulnerable communities tend to pay the highest price in climate change effects, and there are differing ideas on how to respond to this imbalance.

The Mountain Research and Development Volume 39, Number 3 issue is an open publication whose articles are fully accessible online. 

The agri-food system is undergoing transformation as population rises and the demand for food (particularly animal food products) increases. This change necessarily entails a competition with other areas under development (such as urbanization, biofuel production, etc.) for resources like land and water, resulting in compromises and trade-offs due to a variety of priorities of all the many actors involved, like researchers, policy makers, private companies, NGOs, and more. Each actor may envision sustainability in ways that conflict with the others, creating clashing priorities.

While the livelihood of mountain forests is threatened by increasing temperatures brought on by climate change, the topographic complexity of mountain areas (large variation of climate and soils in a small area due to differences in elevation and geographical aspect) might mitigate this impact, creating a natural protective buffer between the landscape and global warming. The degree of damage climate change may cause to mountain forests and the potential to reverse the damage, however, merits further research.

A special issue of the bilingual Journal of Alpine Research/Revue de Géographie Alpine ‘Eau, tourisme et montagne/Water, Tourism and the Mountain’, guest edited by Emmanuel Reynard, features five new papers that highlight ways in which the tourism sector in mountain regions is adapting to climate change.

Among these articles is one co-authored by MRI Science Leadership Council member Samuel Morin, titled ‘Snow Reliability and Water Availability for Snowmaking in the Ski resorts of the Isère Département (French Alps), Under Current and Future Climate Conditions,’ whose co-authors include Martin Gerbaux, Pierre Spandre, Hugues François, and Emmanuelle George.

Although snow’s role in mountain ecosystems is a vital one, research into snow cover changes and their potential consequences in mountain systems is lacking.

While human-induced climate change is well-known, identifying individual factors based on human activity that contribute to climate change merits further research.

It was previously thought that Swiss rivers temperature and discharge were relatively preserved from climate change. Using data from 52 catchments in Switzerland, researchers have recently discovered that the increasingly warm air is indeed causing the temperature of bodies of water to rise.

While some alpine catchments are  still preserved by cold water advection coming from snow and glacier melt, some evidences show that glacier disappearance will lead to an important rise of the temperature in these rivers.

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