MRI News

An MRI-led special issue of the journal Regional Environmental Change seeks to highlight contributions from the mountain research community to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment cycle, focusing on the impacts of climate change on the high-mountain cryosphere and downstream regions – as well as responses to these impacts.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment cycle presented the mountain research community with an opportunity to address knowledge gaps on climate change impacts in the high-mountain cryosphere – further motivating activity in an area that has increasingly been a focus of research in recent years. 

Last month, the MRI was present at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2019, held in Vienna between 8-12 April. During the week, we attended a number of events that provided opportunities to further connect and bring the mountain research community together at one of the largest, and key, meets for the geosciences research community in Europe.

Transcending disciplinary boundaries for knowledge co-production in mountains

Session EOS6.3/NH9.26: Inter- and transdisciplinary research, education, and practice in mountain regions: field experiences, challenges, and opportunities | Mon, 08 Apr, 14:00–15:45.

This session, led by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), invited contributions to share diverse experiences with inter- and transdisciplinary (ID-TD) research, education, and practice as it is specifically applied in mountain contexts. A number of engaging presentations were given by researchers from diverse backgrounds, topics, and covering experiences had working in mountain regions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.

The Andes of South America are one of the most biologically rich and diverse regions in the world. They are also undergoing significant change, not least in terms of land cover. In order to build a better picture of the extent and impact of this, new MRI-supported research published in the journal Global Change Biology evaluates the distribution of woody vegetation in the tropical Andes between 2001 and 2014.

“The tropical Andes are particularly important in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services,” says study author and MRI SLC member Ricardo Grau, Director of the Institute of Regional Ecology at the National University of Tucumán, Argentina. “Yet, in part due to the difficulties caused by rough topography and high cloud cover, there were no comprehensive assessments of vegetation cover change – so we aimed to fill this research gap.”

As part of our mission to promote research on mountain regions across borders and disciplines through connection and collaboration, the Mountain Research Initiative issued a call for synthesis workshops in December last year. The purpose of this call was to provide funding for workshops that bring together global change researchers in order to address specific topics of interest to the mountain research community.

A total of 14 workshop proposals were submitted and eligible for review by our panel, which was comprised of MRI Principal Investigators, MRI Science Leadership Council members, and the MRI Executive Director. 

Recognizing the need to support and build capacities for regional and global assessment for science-policy processes, the Mountain Research Initiative, University of Zurich, Helvetas, and ICIMOD – in an initiative supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – have teamed up to launch a call for applications for a mentoring and training program for early career mountain researchers who have an interest in participating in IPCC processes. Application deadline is 12 May 2019.

A Mountain Research Initiative survey is looking for insights into the major challenges for mountain governance, and what is being done to foster sustainability in the world’s mountains. The survey closes 15 April 2019.

The MRI invites the mountain research community to provide valuable insights into governance in mountain environments by participating in a short online survey. Through this survey, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of the major challenges for governance, and what is being done to foster sustainability in the world’s mountains. We are particularly interested in insights from in-depth case studies that have paid attention to governance as part of the data collection process.

Experts nominated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met in Russia 4-8 March 2019 to further develop the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). As a lead author of the High Mountains chapter, MRI Executive Director Carolina Adler was among their number.

The  (SROCC) is one of three special reports that the IPCC, the leading body for assessing the science related to climate change, will be releasing over the next year. The report will contain a careful assessment of how the ocean and cryosphere – the areas of the planet in which water is found in its solid state as ice or snow – will be affected by climate change. It will assess what these changes might mean for people around the world and how these changes may challenge a sustainable and equitable future.

Earlier this month, experts from IPCC Working Group II came together in Durban, South Africa to begin preparing their contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Among them were representatives from the MRI and ICIMOD, selected to co-lead the Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains.

From 20-25 January 2019, over 250 authors from the IPCC Working Group II – concerned with climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities – met in Durban, South Africa for the First Lead Author Meeting of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). The authors were selected from more than 1000 nominations submitted by governments and IPCC Observer Organizations, with the selection aiming to balance expertise, gender, countries, and regions to ensure the inclusion of diverse views and scientific disciplines.

Following the announcement last year that Carolina Adler of the MRI and Philippus Wester of ICIMOD had been chosen to co-lead a Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains as part of the Working Group II contribution to AR6, they too travelled to Durban to meet with their co-authors and begin the process of reviewing the existing scientific literature.

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