Guest Blog

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Experiences From the Workshop “Building a Regional Network to Study Carbon Dynamics, the Role of Environmental Factors, and Human Use in Cushion Peatlands Along the Andes”

Workshop participants on an excursion in Tuni Condoriri, Cordillera Real, La Paz, Bolivia.

In October 2022, almost 30 expert participants from nine countries met to discuss current topics of Andean peatland ecology and to develop a joint methodology for the long-term assessment of C cycling in these ecosystems. The workshop aimed at initiating a regional research network encompassing all countries with high-Andean tropical cushion peatlands.


A Toxic Cocktail in Mountain Lakes

Mountains are pristine, remote, with fresh, clean air, an intact biodiversity, and a perfectly well-preserved environment. WRONG! We are sorry to bring bad news, but our work clearly shows that there are a huge amount of different chemical molecules found in mountain lakes.


Time & Space of Glaciers

Ice fall in Azay glacier. Photo credit Alexandra Rogozhina & IGRAS/RGO.

People usually perceive space and time by comparing them to their own life. Words such as “forever” and “until the end” appear in fiction. But how can we imagine the space and time of the mountain glaciers whose existence goes beyond our usual perception? And why is it so important for us now? In this blog post, researcher Alexandra Rogozhina shares her thoughts on these suggestive topics.


Adapt or Abandon? Hard Choices in the Himalayas

Anthropologists are documenting how global warming is transforming Asia’s water tower and threatening the livelihoods of farmers and herders. On a cold evening in 2012, anthropologist Jiban Mani Poudel sat sharing tea and snacks with mountain herders huddled around a cattle pen in Nepal’s Nhāson Valley. A wizened 63-year-old herder, Gunjaman Gurung, exclaimed, “Norusaiba has almost begun,” referring to the seasonal arrival of cold winds and dewfall, when the meadows slowly turn brown and die, and herders bring their cattle down the Himalayan slopes. For the next six years, over many cups of tea in the mountains, Poudel, who teaches at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, discovered how attuned mountain herding communities are to nature’s cues. Nepal’s traditional herders, for example, set their lives according to nature’s cues, such as ngosho, the season tied to flowering plants. Climate change is reshaping the Himalayas in many ways: While the Upper Mustang region becomes more arid, other areas,...

One Protocol to Track Them All

This blog post written by Jonas Lembrechts, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence on Plants and Ecosystems at the University of Antwerp, presents a standardized protocol developed by the Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN). The protocol was designed to systematically quantify global patterns of native and non-native species distributions along elevation gradients and shifts in these distributions arising from interactive effects of climate change and human disturbance.


Surviving on the Periphery of a City of Earthquakes

Mexico City is one of the most disaster-prone urban areas in the world. Following an earthquake, marginalized communities living on the city’s periphery are exposed to more dangers than just collapsing buildings.

“Not again, please,” thought Sofía López when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on 7 September.


From Global to Local: Finding Creative Solutions for the Future

The Swiss mountain village of Guttannen faces numerous challenges – and is taking action to address them. (Image credit: MRI / Grace Goss-Durant)

In this article, Professor Rolf Weingartner, MRI Chair 2007-2019, highlights the need for research to engage with local communities in order to jointly develop sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our changing mountains. 


The MRI: Confronting the Problem of Collective Action

Image by David Mark.

As the MRI Coordination Office celebrates 20 years since it was founded, Gregory Greenwood, MRI Executive Director 2004-2017, reflects on his time at the organization's helm, what has made the MRI a success, and how the MRI can continue to strengthen collective action for our changing mountains.


In Full Transition: Addressing the Challenges of Our Changing Mountains

Syphoning for lake level lowering and flood protection at Laguna Palcacocha, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Rock and ice avalanches from the surrounding icy peaks can directly impact the lake. (Picture source: H. Frey, April 2015)

The Mountain Research Initiative was established 20 years ago, and no doubt there are important challenges ahead that extend far beyond another 20 years of this organisation. Even at the highest (altitudinal) levels…


Navigating Towards Sustainability: How Research Networks Can Make a Difference Using the ‘Network Compass’

Addressing complex sustainability problems requires more than scientific knowledge. Researchers must collaborate with societal actors from government, business, and civil society, and engage in the co-production of knowledge and action. How can sustainability-oriented networks effectively facilitate co-production?


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