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As climate change redefines the landscape of high mountain environments, so changes the scope – and its limitations – of summertime mountaineering in the Alps.

While sunnier weather and warmer temperatures lead to a rise in certain nature-based tourism, such as visiting natural parks and camping, they are causing the crysophere to melt, leading to more frequent and intense gravitational processes (such as rockfall), creating an increasingly dangerous setting for mountaineers.

Identifying and conserving ecosystems in protected area networks are top priorities for the conservation science community. The macroscale global ecoregions maps commonly in use today describe large ecologically meaningful areas, but not distinct localized ecosystems at the occurrence (patch) level, potentially leaving ecosystems at risk of being left out of conservation efforts.

The International Symposium of Mountain Studies – taking place at the 34th International Geographical Congress – is accepting abstract submissions until 13th January, 2020.

At the upcoming 34th International Geography Congress to be held at the University of Istanbul, Turkey, August 17-21, 2020, the IGU Commission of Mountain Studies has organized its International Symposium of Mountain Studies that is open for submission of abstracts until 13th January, 2020. 

Climate change poses a major threat to the survival of alpine mammals living in fragmented habitats with poor dispersal abilities. Among these important prey species, pikas are considered especially vulnerable to rising temperatures that would impede their surface activity and dispersal. 

This article investigates how climatic regimes influence the niche of the Royle’s pika (Ochotona roylei), and which climatic drivers and change trajectories may threaten the species’ future sustenance, thereby prioritizing areas for future conservation of this species across its distribution range.  

This review presents research evidence of climate change and anthropogenic impacts on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and its implications on water, food and energy production (WFE nexus).

While there exist divided scholarly opinions on the impacts of climate change on the Mt. Kilimanjaro glacier, consistent decreases in precipitation amounts are evident throughout the existing literature. 

Andean forests decreased in area over the past decade, and communities throughout the Andes are experiencing environmental degradation and soil fertility loss. But amid deforestation, forests returned to some Andean regions, producing local ‘forest transitions’, or net increases in forest cover.

The mechanisms that drive these local transitions – often in part the actions of residents – are still little studied, but hold key information for creating successful forest and landscape restoration interventions.

After almost 15 years as MRI Chair, Professor Rolf Weingartner is taking a step back to concentrate on other projects. Looking back at his time at the helm, Weingartner talks us through the evolution of the MRI over the years, its key achievements, and where he hopes the MRI will head in future.

What made you want to get involved with the MRI?

Since the start of my career, one of my focal points has been on Swiss hydrology – and as soon as you combine hydrology and Switzerland it is obvious that mountains become involved. They are the water towers of Switzerland, and indeed of Europe! And mountains and mountain hydrology have become increasingly important over the years because of climate change and its impact on the cryosphere; mountains are strongly affected, with their retreating glaciers, melting permafrost, changing snow cover, and so on. So this combination felt like a natural fit for the MRI.

Guest-edited by MRI Executive Director Carolina Adler, this issue of the journal Mountain Research and Development contributes to the literature being assessed for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report – and particularly its cross-chapter paper on mountains.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6, due in 2021) was being scoped, a number of stakeholders with a mountain focus from research, government, policy, and development communities highlighted the importance of mountains in global assessments such as those conducted by the IPCC. This ultimately led to the approval of a cross-chapter paper on mountains. The articles in this issue of Mountain Research and Development (MRD) contribute to the body of literature that is being assessed by the IPCC in AR6, integrating mountain contexts and issues into the climate change adaptation debate.

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