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Introduction: The International Year of Mountains Challenge and Opportunity for Mountain Research

  • Thomas Hofer
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 23)

Abstract

Mountains are complex and fragile ecosystems characterised by vertically, highly differentiated climatic conditions and often by an abundance of water and rich biodiversity. Mountains are high-risk environments: avalanches, glacial lake outbursts, landslides and earthquakes threaten life in mountain areas. Remoteness and difficult access hamper development in mountain regions. Therefore, mountain areas are often marginalized. Despite these constraints, mountains offer significant opportunities. Mountain dwellers have adapted to life in steep and harsh conditions and have developed sophisticated techniques for farming, water use, forestry and communication. The agro-biodiversity as a function of altitude, exposition and farmers’ crop selection is huge. Mountain inhabitants have also developed a rich cultural diversity. Therefore, people living in lowland areas or in big cities increasingly prefer mountains for recreation.

Keywords

Global Change Mountain Area Mountain Region Household Food Security Mountain Ecosystem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Hofer
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainable Mountain DevelopmentUN Food and Agriculture OrganizationRomeItaly

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