Mountains cover a quarter of the Earth's land surface and are home to about 12 percent of the global population. They are the sources of all the world's major rivers, affect regional weather patterns, provide centres of biological and cultural diversity, hold deposits of minerals, and provide both active and contemplative recreation. Yet mountains are also significantly affected by climate change; as melting and retreating glaciers show. Given the manifold goods and services which mountains provide to the world, such changes are of global importance. In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Price outlines why mountains matter at the global level, and addresses the existing and likely impacts of climate change on mountain, hydrological and ecological systems. Considering the risks associated with the increasing frequency of extreme events and 'natural hazards' caused by climate change, he discusses the implications for both mountain societies and wider populations, and concludes by emphasizing the need for greater cooperation in order to adapt to climate change in our increasingly globalized world.
• Looks at both the regional and global effects of mountains on climate and ecosystems • Considers the value of mountains to humanity, as centres of biological and cultural diversity, religious sanctuaries, sources of food, timber, and medicines, and major centres for tourism • Discusses the impact of climate change on mountains, and considers how this affects the people who rely on mountains for their livelihood or culture
Martin F. Price (PhD, University of Colorado Geography, 1984) is Director of the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland; Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Mountain Development; and Adjunct Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway. He has been involved in numerous international initiatives for the sustainable development of mountain regions, working with organisations including the European Commission, European Environment Agency, FAO, IUCN, UNEP, UNESCO and WWF. He is the author and editor of many books and reports on mountain topics, including Mountain Geography: Physical and Human Dimensions (University of California Press, 2013).
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