New Publication

During the last decades, ecosystems have suffered a decline in natural resources due to climate change and anthropogenic pressure. This work proposes a methodological framework to monitor the changes produced in this protected area using multi-source remote sensing imagery. 

Ecosystems are exposed to high pressure due to intensification of agricultural land use, tourism, development, and climate change, being highly dynamic in space and time. Specifically, climate change is producing important variations in entire communities in those areas where it manifests most intensely, such as regions at greater latitude and areas of higher altitude. Thus, ecosystem deterioration has a strong negative impact in the local biodiversity and might put rare and threatened species at a serious extinction risk.

Mountain ecosystems and the human communities that inhabit them deliver critical resources — such as fresh water and timber — to over half the planet's human population. Despite their importance, there has been no global assessment of threats to mountain systems, even as they face unprecedented challenges to their sustainability. With survey data from 57 mountain sites worldwide, a new publication tests our understanding of the types of stresses that are threatening mountain systems, as well as the resources and benefits that come from mountains. 

The ideas presented in this paper were first developed at a workshop supported by the Mountain Research Initiative. 

Although negative impacts of climate change will ultimately occur by driving populations to extinction, we know remarkably little about such impacts on plant demography. Most long-term research focuses instead on shifts to early blooming. The present paper shows that climate change is expected to cause negative population growth in a plant population within a few decades.

Early snowmelt is associated with reduced vital rates, with the effects on seedling establishment and seed production especially important to population dynamics. The negative impact is expected even without the changes in floral display so evident in other plant species in the same subalpine community. Thus, these mountain plant communities are at risk from declining snowpack.

The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a gendered focus on the environmental and socioeconomic transformation of the Rwandan highlands and the impact of the transformation on the well-being and gender equality of its inhabitants.

Transformations of a mountain system are complex. However, the actions needed for the transformations are not always recognized as being gender biased. The Rwandan highlands are undergoing a rapid environmental and social-economic transformation. The government of Rwanda is pushing an economic and social transformation agenda with neoliberal and gender-mainstreamed agricultural policies. 

This paper describes and evaluates a snow mapping setup for the remote Langtang Valley in the Nepal Himalayas, which can deliver data for snow and water availability mapping all year round.

Seasonal snow cover is an important source of melt water for irrigation and hydropower production in many regions of the world, but can also be a cause of disasters, such as avalanches and floods. In the remote Himalayan environment there is a great demand for up-to-date information on the snow conditions for the purposes of planned hydropower development and disaster risk reduction initiatives. 

According to the planetary boundaries framework, anthropogenic alteration of the nitrogen (N) cycle is one of the major challenges facing the Earth system. This study starts from the premise that human activities have at least doubled the levels of reactive N (Nr) available in the biosphere, resulting in deposition of Nr in or near heavily populated areas as well as remote ecosystems.

 The N cycle is best described as a modular and complex network of biological N-transformation reactions carried out by metabolically versatile communities of microorganisms, whose overall composition largely determines whether N is lost, via denitrification or anammox, or retained in the system via dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA).

New research published in the journal of  Hydrology and Earth System Science looks at whether 'The effects of vegetation and soil changes are as important as climate change impacts on hydrological processes.' The findings highlight the increasing impact climate change has on annual runoff volume. 

Hydrological processes are widely understood to be sensitive to changes in climate, but the effects of changes in vegetation and soils have seldom been considered. The response of mountain hydrology to future climate and vegetation/soil changes is modelled in three snowmelt dominated mountain basins in the North American Cordillera.

Changes to alpine streams fed by glaciers and snowfields due to a warming climate threaten to dramatically alter the types of bacteria and other microbes in those streams, according to new research.

But streams that are fed by underground ice insulated by rock – called 'icy seeps' – offer some hope that the impact of climate change will be less severe in some areas, say the researchers, who include Lusha Tronstad, research scientist with the University of Wyomings’s Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (WYNDD).

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