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