The latest issue of eco.mont aims to raise awareness of the importance of mountain protected areas, and with the publication of long-term studies, support and outline the interaction of scientists and PA managers.

In the latest issue of the journal eco.mont (Volume 14, Number 2, July 2022), underlines the importance of monitoring programmes in Alpine protected areas (PAs).

Alpine protected areas (PAs) play a key role in the conservation of biodiversity but also in the monitoring of species and habitats. Only PAs can ensure long-term monitoring, over many years, far beyond normal scientific project durations, with professional equipment and staff on the ground. This feature makes PAs especially precious for the sciences, for the development of management measures and their testing, and for political decisions concerning the conservation of biodiversity.

Since its first issue, eco.mont has published articles about long-term monitoring programmes in various areas in the Alps (see e.g. Robinson & Oertli 2009; Robinson et al. 2011; Güsewell & Klötzli 2012; Bohner et al. 2012; Mayer & Erschbamer 2014; Fischer et al. 2014; Bonet et al. 2016; Battisti et al. 2019). To further underline the importance of monitoring programmes in PAs, after an internal review the editors and the Editorial Board de- cided to accept and publish in this issue a long paper by Körner et al. The 17 authors present the conceptual framework and a summary of the first five years of findings of the broad, interdisciplinary, long-term monitoring programme of terrestrial and aquatic alpine biota in the Hohe Tauern National Park (NPHT) in the Alps (Austria, Italy and Switzerland). The concept was developed in 2011 by the Scientific Advisory Board of the NPHT, on the initiative of the three NPHT directors, and finally realized in 2016. It consists of a total of eight research modules and uses highly standardized observation and analysis methods. The unusual comprehensiveness of this monitoring programme and the fact that it is a practice of use potentially to all PA managers, led us to accept the paper, in spite of its length. We are very excited to offer it to our readers, and would be interested to read and learn more in the future about long-term studies in the Alps and globally.

The other articles in this issue highlight once again the many topics within mountain PAs, but also the need to protect species living in mountain areas which are not yet protected. They include a further long-term monitoring study of the Macun lakes in the Swiss National Park, a study of the threatened ungulates Ammotragus lervia and Gazella cuvier in the semi-arid North African Nador Mountains, the effects of landforms and climate on vegetation dynamics in the Caucasus, community structure and diversity of soil nematodes at twelve selected plots around Lake Paiku in the Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in Tibet, China, and the avifaunal diversity in a district in Western Nepal.

This summary of eco.mont – Volume 14, Number 2, July 2022 was taken from the issue's editorial article, written by eco.mont co-editors Valerie Braun, Guido Plassman, and Günter Köck.

Access eco.mont – Volume 14, Number 2, July 2022.

 Cover image by Marco Meyer.

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