Mountain systems are gradually becoming more vulnerable to both globalization processes and climate change. The urgency to respond to these changes as well as recent disruptive events have highlighted the crucial role of mountains in steering the turn around, be it in the energy, water, food, tourism, or conservation sector. Current solutions are however often highly reactive and do not provide societally valued and needed qualities within the environmental and the social constraints of the complex systems. This keynote will present various principles to better integrate scientific knowledge in local place making to harness the expected changes and accelerate the implementation of socially acceptable solutions. An iterative loop between science and the design of new social-ecological-technical systems embedded in a civic discourse will help moderate the relationships between actions and values while creating co-benefits for people living in and outside mountain areas.
Belowground microbial communities play a prominent role in alpine ecosystems, regulating major biogeochemical cycles and the supply of growth-limiting nutrients to plants. This talk will consider some recent advances in our understanding of how alpine microbial communities rand their functioning responds to ongoing climate change, especially through changes in snow conditions, and how these responses are mediated by vegetation change.
Mountain areas face the contradictory forces of marginalisation, commodification, conservation, rewilding, ‘green’ industrialisation, and bioeconomy developments. The remaining high nature value farming systems of these areas enabling high quality food production experience varying or limited degree of viability and support. Climate change, ecological crisis, and pandemics interact with ‘surprises’ such as Brexit, stuck container ships, and the return of large carnivores. How may this influence the position of mountain food systems?
After The Ashfall: What Ancient Environmental Disasters Can Tell Us About The Human Attachments To The Landscape
In 1815 Tambora, a volcano in a small Indonesian island just east of Java, violently erupted killing untold numbers and incinerating villages and crops. This eruption, which historian Gillen D’Arcy Wood compares to that of Mount Mazama (now known as Crater Lake, Oregon) 7600 years ago, not only blackened the sky and reshaped the island landscape, but also disrupted climate patterns around the globe. Most survivors, who once produced food and luxuries for consumption, tribute and trade, never returned. Island society, in other words, disappeared from the historical record. As we live in a world fraught with ever worsening environmental disasters, my colleagues and I reflect on how ancient people in North America coped with various known disasters, especially the Mazama eruption and its aftermath, why they returned to denuded ancestral landscapes, and what valuable lessons they may teach us to find avenues for social action.