Happy International Mountain Day!

Today – the 11th of December – is International Mountain Day, the yearly celebration of mountains since 2003.

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A hotel in the beautiful Patagonian Andes in Bariloche

A day on which we try to increase awareness for the importance of mountains for all life on earth. A day to think about the opportunities and constraints that come with mountain development and conservation. A day for mountains, yet as much for all of us.

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A ski lift in the National Park of Abisko in Northern Sweden

A day to share some beautiful pictures of mountain views, but more importantly, remind us all of the impact we as humans have on these mountains.

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Peace and quiet in a little valley in northern Norway

More than ever, we will have to search for a balance between nature and culture, between ecology and economy, between what we need, and what the mountains need.

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Enjoying the view from the top of a mountain in the Northern Scandes

With every step we take in the mountains, we disturb them, and this disturbance has a cascade of effects, that we might never be able to grasp fully. It is a fast change, that is often irreversible, and like all changes in nature, it comes with winners and losers.

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Wooden signs marking a snowscooter trail in a green valley in northern Sweden

Our research for example has shown ample times how humans and their disturbances in the mountains play a leading role in changes in the vegetation, with changing distributions of plant species and the introduction of many non-native intruder.

Yet the winners are similar – often even the same – everywhere around the world, making all disturbed sites looking more and more like each other. And that is a big loss for biodiversity.

You can always check our conclusions on the page ‘PhD-cv‘.

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