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Perth III: Mountains of Our Future Earth

Date: October 14, 2014

Mountain areas occupy 24% of the Earth’s land surface; they are home to 12% of the global population, and another 14% of the population live in their immediate proximity. Globally, mountain areas are vital sources of water for agricultural, industrial, and domestic use. They include major centres of biodiversity, often coinciding with centres of cultural diversity where traditional ecological knowledge is maintained. In an urbanising world, mountain areas are key locations for tourism and recreation; some include major urban areas.

Mountain systems are particularly fragile, and subject to both natural and anthropogenic drivers of change. These range from volcanic and seismic events and flooding to global climate change and the loss of vegetation and soils because of inappropriate agricultural and forestry practices and extractive industries. Thus, many mountain ecosystems are moving along trajectories that couple high rates of environmental change with strong economic changes. The collective effect may be to alter the ability of these ecosystems to provide critical goods and services to both mountain and lowland populations. The vital linkages between mountain and lowland systems are increasingly recognised in global and regional policy debates and action. These diverse and inter-related issues have been addressed in two international conferences organised by the Centre for Mountain Studies in Perth, in 2005 and 2010, and provide the context for the 2015 conference.

This is a contribution to Future Earth.

Conference aims

  1. To present, evaluate and synthesise progress in our understanding of global change in mountain regions, and share examples of innovative approaches, particularly in terms of progress towards addressing the gaps in global research in mountain regions;
  2. To refine and agree agendas for collaborative research and action relating to global change and mountain regions, and to significantly increase the use of applied research findings on the ground in mountain regions;
  3. To foster effective interdisciplinary and international interactions between participants: researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers.