New research published in the journal Sustainability looks at 'Mountain Farming Systems’ Exposure and Sensitivity to Climate Change and Variability: Agroforestry and Conventional Agriculture Systems Compared in Ecuador’s Indigenous Territory of Kayambi People.' The findings highlight the important role of agroforestry systems in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Smallholder farming is considered one of the sectors most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, variability, and extremes, especially in the developing world. This vulnerability is due to the socioeconomic limitations and high environmental sensitivity which affect the biophysical and socioeconomic components of smallholder farming systems. Therefore, systems’ functionality and farmers’ livelihoods will also be affected, with significant implications for global food security, land-use/land-cover change processes and agrobiodiversity conservation. As a result, less vulnerable and more resilient smallholder farming systems constitute an important requisite for sustainable land management and to safeguard the livelihoods of millions of rural and urban households.

Entry is now open for the Prix de Quervain for Polar and High Altitude Research, an award granted to early career scientists for outstanding achievement in an MA thesis, PhD thesis, or other research project. For 2019, the call is open in the field of natural sciences concerning high altitude research. Deadline 31 May. 

The Prix de Quervain is an annual award funded by the Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude Research SKPH, the Commission for the Research Station on Jungfraujoch SKJF, and the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research. The total prize money is CHF 5,000, which may be awarded as a whole amount or split between prize winners. 

Glaciers are set to disappear completely from almost half of World Heritage sites if business-as-usual emissions continue, according to the first-ever global study of World Heritage glaciers, co-authored by scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The sites are home to some of the world’s most iconic glaciers, such as the Grosser Aletschgletscher in the Swiss Alps, Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas, or Greenland’s Jakobshavn Isbrae. 

The study, ‘Disappearing World Heritage Glaciers as a Keystone of Nature Conservation in a Changing Climate’, combines data from a global glacier inventory, a review of existing literature, and sophisticated computer modelling to analyse the current state of World Heritage glaciers, their recent evolution, and their projected mass change over the 21st century. The authors predict glacier extinction by 2100 under a high emission scenario in 21 of the 46 natural World Heritage sites where glaciers are currently found. Even under a low emission scenario, eight of the 46 World Heritage sites will be ice-free by 2100. The study also expects that 33 percent to 60 percent of the total ice volume present in 2017 will be lost by 2100, depending on the emission scenario.

Fausto Sarmiento, professor of mountain science in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia, USA, received the 2019 Barry Bishop Career Award in April during the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. The award recognizes exemplary research productivity, professional contributions, and teaching excellence in the study of mountains.

Sarmiento has helped to reevaluate disciplinary and institutional approaches to sustainable development in mountain environments like the Tropical Andes. He is co-chair of the Mountains Specialist Group of the World Commission on Protected Areas and member of the World Conservation Union’s Protected Landscapes Task Force. He serves on the editorial boards for the Annals of the AAG (USA), the Journal of Mountain Science (China) and the Journal of Mountain Ecology (Spain), and he chairs the Latin American and Caribbean Mountain Research Network.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has opened the first order draft  of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) for expert review, marking an important step in the preparation of the flagship report.

The review runs from 29 April to 23 June 2019, and interested experts can register until midnight CET on 16 June 2019 on the IPCC website. 

IPCC reports go through repeated drafts and reviews to help ensure that the report provides a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the latest scientific findings.

The deadline to register for the International Mountain Conference 2019 is fast approaching! Registration closes 15 May 2019. 

The International Mountain Conference 2019 (IMC 2019) will take place 8-12 September 2019 at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Building upon the legacy of the Perth mountain conference series, IMC 2019 aims to encourage in-depth, cross-disciplinary exchange and collaboration, and will provide an excellent opportunity for experts from different disciplines to come together and discuss mountains, their responses to climate and other changes, and their resilience as social-ecological systems.

According to IMC 2019 organizers, to date there have been 355 registrations – meaning that over two-thirds of all researchers that submitted abstracts are currently registered. The MRI is looking forward to many contributions from the MRI community of researchers during IMC 2019, and we would like to take this opportunity to remind those who have not yet done so to register by 15 May. 

A new paper published in the journal Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics summarizes a long-term ecological research project in megadiverse montane grassland, and provides data on climate, soil, plant communities, plant mutualists, and antagonists. The researchers' goal is to integrate information into global mountain assessment networks.

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone lost more than 9,000 billion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimeters, an international research team under the lead of UZH have now found.

Glaciers have lost more than 9,000 billion tons (that is 9 625 000 000 000 tons) of ice between 1961 and 2016, which has resulted in global sea levels increasing by 27 millimeters in this period. The largest contributors were glaciers in Alaska, followed by the melting ice fields in Patagonia and glaciers in the Arctic regions. Glaciers in the European Alps, the Caucasus mountain range and New Zealand were also subject to significant ice loss; however, due to their relatively small glacierized areas they played only a minor role when it comes to the rising global sea levels.

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