The latest issue of eco.mont explores topics ranging from the impact of coronavirus restrictions on alpine field work to tensions between traditional herding practices and conservation policies in the Southern Central Andes.

In the latest issue of the journal eco.mont (Volume 13, Number 1, January 2021), concerns about the ongoing  COVID-19 pandemic touched up in an article in which Martha E. Apple describes the impact of coronavirus restrictions on alpine field work in the state of Montana in the US.

Other articles in this issue deal with various concerns relating to mountain protected areas. Discussions of biodiversity, conservation conflicts, and various aspects of tourism take readers to protected areas in Malaysia, Turkey, Kosovo, Poland, Slovakia, the USA and Chile. A study by Azlan Abas & Laily Din explores lichen diversity, composition and distribution along elevational gradients in the tropical mountain forest of Gunung Nuang, Malaysia. Some species are threatened by the loss of forest and by human activities and need to be protected and managed to ensure their survival. Schabetsberger et al. present a preliminary limnological characterization of two neighbouring alpine lakes, Leqinat and Drelaj, in the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park (Kosovo). The lakes differ in their hydrology and species assemblages in the open water. Fish introduction poses a threat to the lakes and could alter the community of prey organisms very significantly. García et al. introduce the reader to the mountain ecosystems of the Southern Central Andes where tensions between traditional herding practices and conservation policies are evident. The herding practices have existed since pre-Hispanic times and have contributed to the production of particular ecosystems, yet official conservation policies create conflicts and affect the herders’ territorial rights.

A study by Drage et al. takes us to the String and Leigh Lakes area in the Grand Teton National Park, in the Rocky Mountains in the US. The area is a favoured alpine destination for numerous day-trippers and an important starting point for backcountry and overnight recreational users. The results show that overnight recreational users gain more positive experiences within the Recommended Wilderness, away from high-density, trailhead-proximate areas. A case study from the Tatra National Parks in Poland and Slovakia by Hibner et al. reveals skiers’ expectations as a challenge for managers of protected areas. In looking at skiers’ opinions and complaints regarding the resorts, the authors found that there was a high level of acceptance of further development by the respondents to their survey, who didn’t perceive the skiing infrastructure as a factor that decreased the landscape value. The implementation of further restrictions in the functioning of the ski resort, although a reasonable management strategy concerning environmental factors, is unlikely owing to political and economic pressure. Finally, Turgut et al. introduce a case study in Hatila Valley National Park, Turkey in which indicators for natural characteristics and landscape values were used to identify mountain forest roads as potential hiking routes.

This summary of eco.mont – Volume 13, Number 1, January 2021 was taken from the issue's editorial article, written by eco.mont co-editor Valerie Braun.

Access eco.mont – Volume 13, Number 1, January 2021.

 Cover image by Dariusz Staniszewski

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