Land Systems for Mountain Futures

Short Description

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.

Goals and Objectives

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

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

Related Information


August 29, 2019

CIRM, MRI, and FoLAP are organizing a symposium on the future of research and training for the transformation of mountain regions. The organizers welcome contributions from the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities working on this topic, both in Switzerland and around the world. DEADLINE AUGUST 30!

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August 23, 2018

The journal Mountain Research and Development is looking for papers that address this topic. Notices of intent are due by 30 September 2018, full papers by 1 February 2019.

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May 5, 2018

The Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), a global research project of Future Earth, is looking for survey respondants for the project Toward biodiversity-related opportunities for sustainable development - a global social-ecological mountain comparison. For this global assessment, analyses will be performed at the level of mountain ranges or sub-ranges. Accordingly, they are asking for a broad picture of the mountain area respondants know, its nature, and the wellbeing of its inhabitants.

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Working Group Coordinators


Working Group Members