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Palaeontologists look to the fossil record to come up with a new strategy to save the endangered mountain pygmy-possum from becoming a climate change casualty.

Scientists have come up with a radical plan to save the critically endangered mountain pygmy-possum: take some from their alpine habitat and introduce them to a warmer, lowland rainforest environment.

In a new study published in Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions B, researchers from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney use fossil evidence going back 25 million years to argue that the mountain pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus) is a species living on the fringes of what its biological ancestors would have enjoyed as a more temperate, less extreme environment.

This workshop aimed to deliver a synthesis of how mountain long-term social-ecological research (LTSER) programmes support global policy agendas and UN conventions, and how to strengthen their contribution. It was an activity of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment Working Group on Long-term Social-ecological Research in Mountains, and funded by the MRI as part of the Call for Synthesis Workshops 2019.

In October, 22 experts from 12 different countries came together in the botanical garden of Champex-Lac in Switzerland to discuss the contribution of long-term social ecological research (LTSER) in mountains to global agendas and conventions. The objective of the workshop was to deliver a synthesis of how mountain LTSER currently support global policy agendas and UN conventions, and how their contribution could be improved and strengthened in the future.

A High Mountain Summit has issued a Call for Action in the face of rapid melting of the Earth’s frozen peaks and the consequences for food, water, and human security, as well as for ecosystems, the environment, and economies.

The three-day summit, convened by the World Meteorological Organization and a wide range of partners, identified priority actions to support more sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation both in high-mountain areas and downstream.

The Mountain Research Initiative is deeply saddened by the death of Esther Mwangi, Principal Scientist with Forests and Governance at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a highly valued and active member of the MRI Science Leadership Council.

Esther Mwangi was a researcher, environmentalist, and public policy expert whose work explored gender and land-rights inequalities in relation to natural resources.

Taking place in Vienna, Austria 3–8 May 2020, the EGU 2020 General Assembly will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to explore all disciplines of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. This year, there are a number of exciting, mountain-related sessions – including three convened by representatives of the MRI.

The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early-career scientists (ECS), can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience. Abstract submissions are now invited for all sessions, including those being convened by representatives from the MRI. 

Deadline for abstract submissions is 15 January 2020

This MRI-funded synthesis workshop took place in the context of the International Mountain Conference (IMC) 2019 – held in September in Innsbruck, Austria – and aimed to deepen discussions initiated during an Open Think Tank earlier that week at the same location on the development of the first Mountain Resilience Report.

Bringing together leading scholars from academia and practice, this post-IMC synthesis workshop took place on 13 September 2019 and laid the foundations for the design and development of a resilience report for mountain regions. The specific resilience angle of this workshop was on understanding and incubating innovative capacities to create and implement effective, real-world solutions and build regenerative mountain systems.

Between 1-3 September 2019, 14 researchers representing eight countries – Spain, France, Switzerland, UK, Sweden, Norway, Peru, Australia – came together in Sopuerta, Spain. Their purpose? To synthesize the knowledge resulting from existing transformation initiatives and Nature Based Solutions (NBS) that are emerging in response to global change in mountains.

The workshop, which was funded by the MRI as part of its 2019 Call for Synthesis Workshops, had several aims: Firstly, to develop a framework to assess the process and outcomes of transformative change in mountains; secondly, to test the framework through a series of case studies in which participants have broad working experience; and thirdly, to create a research plan, as well as an outline for a publication, and to allocate tasks to move towards the aims of TRANSMOUNT in the coming months.

The fabled use of canaries in coal mines as an early warning of carbon monoxide stemmed from the birds’ extreme sensitivity to toxic conditions compared to humans. In that vein, some avian species can indicate environmental distress brought on by overdevelopment, habitat loss, and rising global temperatures before an ecosystem has collapsed. Not all bird species, however, respond to environmental disturbances equally.

Researchers from Princeton University set out to help determine the characteristics that make certain species more sensitive to environmental pressures. They recently reported in the journal Ecography that a bird species’ ability to adapt to seasonal temperature changes may be one factor in whether it can better withstand environmental disruption. The study focused on how temperature changes and the conversion of forests to agricultural land affected 135 bird species in the Himalayas. Species living in the seasonal western Himalayas adapted to deforestation more readily than birds native to the tropical eastern Himalayas.

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