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Research published this month in BMC Ecology and Evolution explores the link between the size of white dead-nettle flowers and pollinator size and, using population genetic analysis, suggests that large flower size evolved independently in populations on different mountains in Japan as a convergent adaptation to locally abundant large bumblebee species.

The morphological compatibility between flowers and insects was given in the famous textbook example of Darwin's orchids and hawkmoths. As in this example, many studies have shown that geographical variations in flower size match the size of insects in each region. In other words, studies have shown 'flower-sized regional adaptation' in which large flowers evolve in areas pollinated by large insects and small flowers evolve in areas pollinated by small insects.

The International Science Council invites comments on the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group position paper for the 2021 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. We encourage the mountain research community to add a mountains perspective to this important document. Deadline 6 May 2021.

The International Science Council, together with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), leads the UN Major Group for Science and Technological Community (STC MG) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its mandate is to promote science and to strengthen the scientific basis of decision-making and governance of sustainable development.

An international research team including scientists from ETH Zurich has shown that almost all the world’s glaciers are becoming thinner and losing mass’ and that these changes are picking up pace. The team’s analysis is the most comprehensive and accurate of its kind to date.

Glaciers are a sensitive indicator of climate change – and one that can be easily observed. Regardless of altitude or latitude, glaciers have been melting at a high rate since the mid-​20th century. Until now, however, the full extent of ice loss has only been partially measured and understood. Now an international research team led by ETH Zurich and the University of Toulouse has authored a comprehensive study on global glacier retreat, which was published online in Nature on 28 April. This is the first study to include all the world’s glaciers – around 220,000 in total – excluding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The study’s spatial and temporal resolution is unprecedented – and shows how rapidly glaciers have lost thickness and mass over the past two decades.

The Mountain Partnership calls for active participation in the process leading to the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021 in order to highlighting sustainable food systems in mountains. 

Mountain agriculture and food production sustain the livelihoods of 1.1 billion people living in the mountains and those of a much larger number of people in the lowlands that depend on healthy mountain ecosystems for freshwater and for the conservation of key plant and animal biological diversity. Worldwide, more than 80 percent of all food is produced by small-scale farmers. Small-scale farmers and pastoralists are predominant in mountain regions, where generally harsh weather and limiting topographical conditions prevail. Progress towards sustainable food systems cannot happen without improving the situation of small-scale mountain farmers worldwide.

The Andes Mountains of South America are the most species-rich biodiversity hotspot for plant and vertebrate species in the world. But the forest that climbs up this mountain range provides another important service to humanity.

Andean forests are helping to protect the planet by acting as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide and keeping some of this climate-altering gas out of circulation, according to new research published in Nature Communications.

The Earth’s temperature continued to rise, with 2020 being one of the three warmest years on record, while extreme weather events combined with the COVID-19 pandemic to impact millions of people worldwide. 

A new report compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and an extensive network of partners on the State of the Global Climate 2020 documents indicators of the climate system, including greenhouse gas concentrations, increasing land and ocean temperatures, sea level rise, melting ice and glacier retreat and extreme weather. It also highlights impacts on socio-economic development, migration and displacement, food security and land and marine ecosystems.

Melting glaciers could be triggering a feedback process that causes further climate change, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

An international research team led by the University of Leeds has for the first time linked glacier-fed mountain rivers with higher rates of plant material decomposition, a major process in the global carbon cycle.

The International Science Council (ISC) seeks views on the draft Global Risk Agenda. 

The ISC launched an online survey for the development of a global science agenda on risk. The MRI encourages the mountain research community to reflect on and share mountain-relevant questions for this risk agenda, and contribute to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR)

The survey will close on 5 May 2021.

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