Skip to navigation Skip to content

Managing our mountain ecosystems in the face of global change

Mountain ecosystems are under increasing pressures (c) James Hutton Institute
"Particular attention was paid to analysing drivers, pressures, impacts and responses of mountain ecosystems to changes, and then, to developing best management practice to tackle challenges, enhance their resilience and put their development on a more sustainable path

Mountains occupy 24 percent of the Earth’s land surface; they are home to 12 percent of the global population and another 14 percent live in their immediate proximity. They also provide resources for a variety of activities, including pastoralism, tourism, forestry, science, recreation and conservation. However, mountain ecosystems are particularly fragile and subject to both natural and man-made pressures. These issues were at the centre of discussions during the International Conference “Perth III: Mountains of Our Future Earth”, held in Perth (Scotland) last week, with more than 400 delegates in attendance including scientists from the James Hutton Institute.

One of the outcomes of the conference was a significant contribution to the Future Earth programme, a 10-year international research initiative to develop the knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change, as well as supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the coming decades.

During the event Professor Maria Nijnik, from the Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group, co-organised and chaired a session on mountain ecosystem services, adaptive management and global change session.

Professor Nijnik speaking at Perth III (c) James Hutton InstituteProfessor Nijnik said: “Presenters in this session, from different backgrounds and representing all parts of the world, addressed a range of ecosystem services and various trade-offs between them. Particular attention was paid to analysing drivers, pressures, impacts and responses of mountain ecosystems to changes, and then, to either building scenarios of mountain socio-ecological systems’ dynamics, or developing management practices to tackle challenges, enhance the ecosystems' resilience and put their development on a more sustainable path.

“The ideas ‘from knowledge to action’, and ‘think globally act locally’ were highlighted in a number of talks. There was a mutual understanding that the trade-offs merit further exploration and that more attention is to be given to trans-disciplinarity and to the co-contraction of knowledge with stakeholders, particularly with local communities.”

The conference was organised by the Centre for Mountain Studies together with the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) and the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), all members of the Mountain Partnership. For more information visit the conference information page at the University of the Highlands and Islands website.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/managing-our-mountain-ecosystems-face-global-change on 24/01/19 10:25:19 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.