marmot 1960Mountains are among the most biodiverse places on Earth, but scientists have struggled to fully understand why they are so important in creating high species richness. An international research team has now shed new light on answering this long-standing question in a paper published in Nature Geoscience earlier this month.

The team found that mountain building, through a process of uplift and erosion, continuously reshapes the landscape and is responsible for creating habitat heterogeneity in an elevational gradient. "The complex interplay between growing mountains and climate generates plenty of opportunities for the creation of new species," says Carina Hoorn, Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam and senior author of a paper summarizing the team's findings. "Although climate and ruggedness of the terrain were previously thought to be the principal cause for mountain biodiversity, our global synthesis now makes clear that geological history plays a paramount role in this process," explains Hoorn.

caucasus smallSocial Innovation in Marginalized Rural Areas (SIMRA), a EU Horizon 2020 project, has published a collection of inspiring examples of social innovation in mountain areas, with case studies covering issues as wide-ranging as governance, ecosystem management, mountain services, and local development. 

SIMRA aims to advance understanding of social innovation and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry, and rural development in marginalised rural areas across Europe and around the Mediterranean, including non-EU countries. As part of this work, it has published a series of brochures that aim to concretely illustrate social innovation through the presentation of local ongoing initiatives.

vietnam 3059653 640Two MRI-led sessions focusing on the application and use of scenario tools for sustainable mountain development are seeking contributions and participation. Deadline for abstract submission is 30 October 2018. 

The Global Land Programme (GLP) is organising its 4th Open Science Meeting under the topic 'Transforming Land Systems for People and Nature.' With a wide diversity of research, immersive sessions, and training sessions, the conference will address three themes: what are the visions for the planetary land system; what do people want from land; and how do we support transformation? This conference will take place in Bern, Switzerland, 24-26 April 2019.

mountain tundra 2734105 1920Plant communities in Arctic and alpine regions are growing taller as a result of a warming climate. This is according to the results of a huge, collaborative research effort exploring tundra vegetation change, which were published in the journal Nature this week. 

Rapid climate warming in the Arctic and alpine regions is driving changes in the structure and composition of plant communities, with important consequences for how this vast and sensitive ecosystem functions. A new paper, published in Nature this week, shows that tundra plant communities are getting taller, which is mostly due to new, taller species moving in. “This is the first time that a biome-scale study has been carried out to get to the root of the critical role that plants play in this rapidly-warming part of the planet” says one of the core authors, Dr. Isla Meyers-Smith.of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Research published in the journal Sustainability Science last month uses participatory scenarios to explore the impacts of climate change on traditional farming communities in the East African highlands. Paper author Dr. Claudia Capitani tells us more.

Climate change poses a significant future challenge for many African countries, with an increase in temperature, higher frequency of extreme events, and uncertain precipitation patterns – wetter rainy seasons for some regions, increased aridity for others – anticipated by the middle of this century. This in turn has implications for food security, poverty reduction, and ecosystem conservation and restoration – making tackling climate change a key priority for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals at both a local and country level.

lausanne 540963 640 smallThe University of Lausanne (UNIL) invites applications from candidates trained in the social and/or natural sciences to develop a research and teaching program on issues related to the sustainable management of natural, social, and economic resources in mountain regions.

The University of Lausanne (UNIL) is a higher teaching and research institution composed of seven faculties where approximately 14,300 students and nearly 3,800 collaborators, professors, and researchers work and study. Ideally situated along the Lake of Geneva, near Lausanne’s city center, its campus brings together over 120 nationalities. A small satellite campus in the town of Sion (VS), located along the Rhone River in the heart of the Alps, hosts the administrative team of the new Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research, the research group Cultures and Natures of Tourism, and the MA in Tourism Studies.

glacier 530050 640The Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia seeks two students interested in pursuing graduate studies in glacial geology. M.S. and Ph.D. applications are welcome from students with backgrounds in glacial geology, glaciology, sedimentology, geomorphology, earth surface processes, and/or marine geology.

As part of an international collaboration to study Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, one opportunity is to constrain past change in the position of the glacier's margin and the factors responsible for driving those changes using sedimentological proxies. This student will participate on a research cruise to Antarctica in the austral summer of 2020.

Mark Carey Glacier smallMark Carey, Professor of History and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon, has received the prestigious King Albert Mountain Award for almost two decades of exceptional service to mountain research. We spoke to him about what this award means to him and his ongoing work to protect mountain societies and environments.

The King Albert Mountain Award is granted to people and institutions that have made exceptional and lasting contributions to the preservation of the mountains of the world – whether through research, conservation, development, arts and culture, or mountaineering. 

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