Active Working Groups

In an era characterized by climate change, economic shifts, and transformative societal dynamics, mountainous regions face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. This Working Group emphasises the need for positive narratives and seeks to connect with other MRI research strands. Its primary goal is to exchange innovative ideas to imagine and shape new responses to the ongoing unprecedented climate-driven social-ecological changes in mountain areas. Additionally, it aims to create an urgently needed community of practice for proactively managing these new resources in a sustainable manner.

The MRI has been working on issues surrounding elevation-dependent climate change since 2012. It began its activities by assessing if, where, to what extent, and why, mountains and other high elevation regions of the world are warming more rapidly than lowlands. The Elevation-Dependent Climate Change (EDCC) Working Group was formerly known as the “Elevation-Dependent Warming Working Group” but has since expanded its interest and work from consideration of temperature to include additional climate processes specific to mountains and high elevation regions. Such processes include, but are not limited to, precipitation and cryospheric processes (snow cover, snow albedo, snowline), vertical aerosol distribution, and changes in ecological zonation.

The Mountain Observatories Working Group brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of experts to build on the Global Network of Mountain Observatories (GNOMO)established in 2015 to create a network that would generate comparable data on mountain social-ecological systems, from climate and hydrology to ecology, human use, and governance. This Working Group aims to facilitate the development of a network of mountain super-sites where observations will be conducted at multi-thematic scale. These super-sites will also work as ‘hubs’ for regional monitoring.

Governance of mountainous regions faces pressing challenges that carry implications for the future sustainability of human society.  Mountain peoples and environments appear especially vulnerable to negative impacts from global change processes, yet provide invaluable benefits: They generate key ecosystem services, offer instructive examples of sociocultural resilience, and retain high biocultural diversity. This Working Group aims to address the critical need for better understanding and information regarding mountain governance challenges and opportunities. 

In times of climate change and disruptive social and economic change, the resilience of mountain social-ecological systems requires both the flexibility to respond to changes (adaptive capacity) as well as the ability to prepare for changes (innovative capacity). This Working Group aims to collect existing knowledge and build new capacity in mountain resilience, working toward a dynamic assessment of the evolving state of mountain social-ecological system resilience to interconnected environmental changes.