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The Bushfire Crisis: Implications for Australia’s Unique Alpine Flora and Fauna

Photo by James Camac

The bushfire crisis in Australia has dominated news headlines these past few weeks, affecting cities, towns and rural areas including the unique Australian alpine environment. This has prompted many to question what implications these fires have for these alpine ecosystems, but also the complex interactions with human dimensions and management options in a changing climate in mountain social-ecological systems.

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Taking Back the Hills: A Tale of Women Rights and Lands in the Catalan Pyrenees

I met Meritxell and Laia one bright sunny day in April, in the  Pallars Sobirà , a mountainous county in the Catalan Pyrenees. Both are women farmers and work in livestock management – Meritxell is a cattle rancher, while Laia herds goats and makes cheese.  Unlike most women in the region, both have made a conscious choice to live and work in the Pallars’ hills, despite the harsh conditions. Even as spring unfolds, from their houses they can watch the flakes of snow still covering the mountain pastures. Soon the foothills are slowly revealed, uncovering green meadows and flowers, with bees popping out from the white winter coating. Catalunya Pallars Sobirà. Wikimedia, CC BY-ND I met Meritxell and Laia through the  AGATA research project  on the social and agricultural dynamics in the Pallars Sobirà region. I am trying with my colleagues to understand the threats to agricultural and pastoral systems in...
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From ‘Whom’ or ‘What’ do Protected Areas Shield the Environment? A Case Study from Mountainous Georgia

The expansion of protected areas has significant implications for local communities and economies. How can community involvement in this process build trust and help ensure sustainable socioeconomic development, and what are the challenges that such an expansion can generate? A new research project sets out to explore this topic in the context of the expansion of Georgia's Kazbegi National Park. Mountain and Rural Development Initiatives – Caucasus Region (MRD-Cau) , based at Tbilisi State University, is a collaborative effort between several local and international scholars with the shared vision of pursuing solutions to pressing challenges in rural and mountainous Caucasus. This platform initiates research projects focused on tackling issues related to the transformation of socioeconomic and spatial conditions, mostly centered around tourism development, management of protected areas, territorial patterns of local economic activities, etc. Importantly, most of the projects are based on interdisciplinary approaches that aim to bolster sustainable and inclusive...
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Workshop on Sustainable Water Resources Management in High Mountains in the Baltic Sea Region

The 2nd International Hydrological Workshop on Sustainable Water Resources Management in High Mountains in the Baltic Sea Region was held in Zakopane in the Polish Tatra Mountains from 10-13 June 2019. 

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Peru’s Ancient Water Systems Can Help Protect Communities from Shortages Caused by Climate Change

Water is essential for human life, but in many parts of the world water supplies are under threat from more extreme, less predictable weather conditions due to climate change. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Peruvian Andes, where rising temperatures and receding glaciers forewarn of imminent water scarcity for the communities that live there.

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Defending the Environment Now More Lethal Than Soldiering in Some War Zones – And Indigenous Peoples Are Suffering Most

Despite centuries of persecution, indigenous groups still manage or have tenure rights over at least a quarter of the world’s land surface. Often inhabiting these lands as far back as memory extends, they share a deep and unique connection to their environment.

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GEO-GNOME Workshop 2019

In a blog post originally written for the P3 project, Marilen Haver – a PhD Student and early career scientist at P³ – describes her experience of attending the recent MRI-hosted GEO-GNOME workshop on 'Essential Climate Variables for Observations in Mountains'.

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Microplastics have even been blown into a remote corner of the Pyrenees

Microplastics have been discovered in a remote area of the French Pyrenees mountains. The particles travelled through the atmosphere and were blown into the once pristine region by the wind, according to a new study published in Nature Geoscience . This is just the latest example of the 'hidden risks' posed by plastics that humans cannot see with the naked eye. For now, governments and activists are focused on avoiding plastic litter in the environment, driven mainly by concern for wildlife and worries over unsightly drinks bottles or abandoned fishing nets on beaches. Plastic bag usage has been cut in many parts of the world, and various projects are exploring how to gather up the floating plastic waste in oceans . But little has yet been done to deal with polluting plastic particles that are usually invisible. There is however growing concern about these micro and nanoplastics, classified as particles smaller...
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University of Lausanne launches centre to promote interdisciplinary research on mountains

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research (ICMR) was launched by the University of Lausanne (UNIL) as a four-year pilot project to contribute to the sustainable development of mountain regions. It does so by enhancing the synergies between 70 researchers from five UNIL faculties and nine research and dissemination institutions mostly from the Alpine region. Among these associated entities is the Mountain Research Initiative, supporting international outreach and connection. Inaugurated on 2 November 2018, the ICMR aims at deepening our knowledge about the challenges faced by mountain regions by using a wide range of methods from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Research will concentrate on a set of themes identified through discussions with UNIL experts on mountains during the centre’s design phase: time and sustainability, change and transitions, natural hazards and risks, mountain society, natural resources, ecosystem services, innovation, food labels, and tourism and health. But the integration of diverse...
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Linkages Between Tourism and Community-Driven Economic Activities: Shaping Sustainability in Mountain Regions

An interdisciplinary research project to bolster sustainable and inclusive tourism development in mountainous Georgia. Mountain and Rural Development Initiatives – Caucasus Region (MRD-Cau) , based at Tbilisi State University, is a collaborative effort between several local and international scholars with the shared vision of pursuing solutions to pressing challenges in rural and mountainous Caucasus. This platform initiates research projects focused on tackling issues related to the transformation of socioeconomic and spatial conditions, mostly centered around tourism development, management of protected areas, territorial patterns of local economic activities, etc. Importantly, most of the projects are based on interdisciplinary approaches that aim to bolster sustainable and inclusive development. One such project – ‘Linkages between Tourism and Community-driven Economic Activities: Shaping Sustainability in Mountain Regions’ – is outlined below. Motivation The project presented in this article was inspired by the research results of the international interdisciplinary project ‘AMIES II - Scenario Development for Sustainable...
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