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Title (Primary) Scientists' warning of threats to mountains
Author Schmeller, D.S.; Urbach, D.; Bates, K.; Catalan, J.; Cogălniceanu, D.; Fisher, M.C.; Friesen, J.; Füreder, L.; Gaube, V.; Haver, M.; Jacobsen, D.; Le Roux, G.; Lin, Y.-P.; Loyau, A.; Machate, O.; Mayer, A.; Palomo, I.; Plutzar, C.; Sentenac, H.; Sommaruga, R.; Tiberti, R.; Ripple, W.J.
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Year 2022
Department WANA; UBZ
Volume 853
Page From art. 158611
Language englisch
Topic T7 Bioeconomy
T9 Healthy Planet
Keywords Pollution; Climate change; Environmental health; Sustainable development goals; Policy
Abstract Mountains are an essential component of the global life-support system. They are characterized by a rugged, heterogenous landscape with rapidly changing environmental conditions providing myriad ecological niches over relatively small spatial scales. Although montane species are well adapted to life at extremes, they are highly vulnerable to human derived ecosystem threats. Here we build on the manifesto ‘World Scientists' Warning to Humanity’, issued by the Alliance of World Scientists, to outline the major threats to mountain ecosystems. We highlight climate change as the greatest threat to mountain ecosystems, which are more impacted than their lowland counterparts. We further discuss the cascade of “knock-on” effects of climate change such as increased UV radiation, altered hydrological cycles, and altered pollution profiles; highlighting the biological and socio-economic consequences. Finally, we present how intensified use of mountains leads to overexploitation and abstraction of water, driving changes in carbon stock, reducing biodiversity, and impacting ecosystem functioning. These perturbations can provide opportunities for invasive species, parasites and pathogens to colonize these fragile habitats, driving further changes and losses of micro- and macro-biodiversity, as well further impacting ecosystem services. Ultimately, imbalances in the normal functioning of mountain ecosystems will lead to changes in vital biological, biochemical, and chemical processes, critically reducing ecosystem health with widespread repercussions for animal and human wellbeing. Developing tools in species/habitat conservation and future restoration is therefore essential if we are to effectively mitigate against the declining health of mountains.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Schmeller, D.S., Urbach, D., Bates, K., Catalan, J., Cogălniceanu, D., Fisher, M.C., Friesen, J., Füreder, L., Gaube, V., Haver, M., Jacobsen, D., Le Roux, G., Lin, Y.-P., Loyau, A., Machate, O., Mayer, A., Palomo, I., Plutzar, C., Sentenac, H., Sommaruga, R., Tiberti, R., Ripple, W.J. (2022):
Scientists' warning of threats to mountains
Sci. Total Environ. 853 , art. 158611