WHY MOUNTAIN ECOSYSTEMS AND RESOURCES IMPORTANT?
Mountain environments cover some 27% of the world’s land surface, and directly support the 22% of the world’s people who live within mountain regions. Lowland people also depend on mountain environments for a wide range of goods and services, including water, energy, timber, biodiversity maintenance, and opportunities for recreation and spiritual renewal. Mountains provide for the freshwater needs of more than half of humanity, and are, in effect, the water towers of the world.The world’s mountains encompass some of the most spectacular landscapes, a great diversity of species and habitat types, and distinctive human communities. Mountains occur on all continents, in all latitude zones, and within all the world’s principal biome types – from hyper-arid hot desert and tropical forest to arid polar icecaps – and support a wide variety of ecosystems. Mountain ecosystems are important for biological diversity, particularly in the tropics and warmer temperate latitudes. Isolated mountain blocks are often rich in endemic species. As noted in the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations when he proclaimed 2002 as the “International Year of Mountains," mountains harbour a significant portion of distinct ethnic groups, varied remnants of cultural traditions, environmental knowledge and habitat adaptations. They host some of the world’s most complex agricultural gene pools and traditional management practices.Mountain biodiversity plays a key role in the support of global environmental, economic, social and cultural sectors through connections to; invasive species, air pollution, climate change, mining, hydropower, tourism, forests, agriculture. Therefore, the challenge is to sustainably manage mountain regions to avoid degradation and avoid subsequent increases in poverty and hunger.Additionally, the preservation of cultural traditions and livelihoods that have developed over many generations in mountain social–ecological systems also may contribute to environmental conservation through maintenance of traditional (local) knowledge as well as the genetic resources inherent in local domesticated crops and livestock.
Globally, environmental problems are growing day by day and threatening the existence of our planet and humanity. The diversity of mountain natural resources such as forests, water, soil, biodiversity, minerals, wildlife and agroecosystems are exploited recklessly. Therefore, ecosystem and resource management in mountains needs sustainable management of rapidly depleting natural resources such as clean water, energy, minerals and biological resources, in relation to the growth of the human population. “The Summer Field School & Workshop on Mountain Ecosystem and Resource Management” will impart practical training to the participants on the critical links of problems with solutions related to natural resources in mountains. This practical training program will provide full space to the participants to understand, analyse, discourse and offer solutions to key issues associated with natural resources in mountains.