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While mountains are home to more than 900 million people, of whom 70 percent still live in rural areas, they also provide ecosystem goods and services to about half of the global population. The prevailing land use in mountain regions is subsistence oriented but hardly supports mountain people sufficiently. In developing countries more than 39 percent of people living in mountain areas are assessed to be vulnerable to food insecurity. Although mountain land systems are highly diverse, they are shaped by similar distinct characteristics due to topography and altitudinal differentiation. At the same time mountain regions are increasingly affected by various drivers of change such as migration, climate change, changes in local and international policies, increasing accessibility and commodification, as well as large scale land acquisitions by distant actors. Due to the crucial role of mountain ecosystems, land changes in these areas lead to significant consequences beyond mountain regions. So far the Land System Science community has not specifically focused on synthesizing insights and knowledge about land change patterns in mountains and their consequences despite the fact that many land system case studies are located in mountain regions. However, such knowledge is urgently needed for informing policy-making at the national and global about land change trends that are of relevance to global sustainable development (system knowledge), i.e. for global governance of land resources. Membership is open; participation in synthesis events will be depend on availability of funds and is by invitation only.
The main goal of this working group is to support land system science synthesis concerning mountain context in order to identify common processes of land change in mountain regions and consequently foster a global land science agenda. This shall not only include topical or geographical synthesis, but shall encompass the compilation, analysis and communication of local innovations and solutions towards sustainable mountain development.
A secondary aim is to use this Mountain Working Group approach to engage a wider array of scientist from different disciplines as well as practitioners interested in mountain contexts and development issues, into GLP
From a sustainability perspective, mountains also bear a huge potential for solutions to the challenges of global change. Over the centuries, mountain people have learned to adapt their management practices to challenging environments, and up to now their livelihoods have often depended on water, soil, plant and animal resources. As a result, mountain communities dispose of dynamic knowledge about the sustainable management of mountain resources. Hence, bringing together local social and ecological knowledge with scientific understanding of social-ecological systems in mountains in transdisciplinary processes could lead to innovative solutions to current challenge and contribute to shape pathways for transformation towards sustainability.
To synthesize contextual insights and knowledge across the diversity of mountain systems challenges the Land System Science community as new approaches are required to generalize contextual knowledge while at the same recognizing the variability. Such approaches can be of interest beyond the mountain context.
Membership is open; participation in synthesis events will be depend on availability of funds and is by invitation only.
GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Land-atmosphere processes, Land governance, Land change trade-offs for ecosystem services and biodiversity , Land management systems, Urban-rural interactions, Land use and conflict
GLP Methods: Co-production and transdisciplinarity, Interdisciplinary methods, Participatory methods, Past land use/historical land use reconstruction, Remote Sensing
In June 2018, the Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies will host the second international Mountain Futures Conference. Mountain Futures 2018 will offer unique opportunities to participate in and shape the new activities of the Mountain Futures Initiative, and continue knowledge and innovation-sharing for all with interests in mountain regions.