Mountains make about 24% of the Earth's land area. They are home to 12% of the world's population, with another 14% living close. They supply essential commodities and services to a large majority of the world's population, particularly freshwater.
Mountains are significant places of traditional ecological knowledge and critical biological and cultural diversity centers, and they influence climate on many scales.
Mountain regions supply a wide range of goods and services to people. Mountain ecosystems, on the other hand, are sensitive to rapid global development.
Why are mountains important?
Mountains are an essential aspect of our daily life because they cover 24% of the Earth's surface and all its inhabitants rely on them somehow.
They provide us with water: Water is necessary for our survival. Mountain settings, such as glaciers, lakes, and rivers, contain a significant amount of this water. Moreover, half of the world's population relies on mountains for drinking and domestic water, irrigation, industry, and hydroelectric generation.
They provide natural resources: We can get various materials, including wood, basic food, and drinking water. Renewable energy, whether hydroelectric, solar, biomass, or wind, may be generated and is helpful to human health.
Natural biodiversity refuges: Countless endemic or threatened species of flora and animals of about 73% have been found in mountainous areas. Our planet's survival depends on biodiversity. Mountain habitats require forests to decrease erosion and improve the quality and quantity of air. They also provide a natural resource of wood and serve as a physical barrier to mitigate the effects of natural calamities.
They provide resilience against change: Adaptation to the detrimental effects of climate change occurs naturally in mountain ecosystems. There are various varieties, ranging from CO2 absorption through forests or rock erosion to lessening the sun's effects through white surface reflection.
WHY SHOULD WE PROTECT THE MOUNTAINS?
Protecting mountains and increasing their sustainable development is paramount. The primary resources mountains provide food, water and conserve biodiversity.
Climate change's direct effects on mountain ecosystems
Rising seawater levels: When glaciers melt, sea levels might rise to 70 meters, causing natural calamities and freshwater supply issues. This shift in the ocean's saltwater could alter marine currents, resulting in a shift in global climate patterns and extreme events.
Pollution from mountainous areas affects both people and animals.
Pollution from mountainous areas affects both people and animals: Ice trapped pollution can leak into rivers/oceans when a glacier melts, impacting all living things. When chemicals are thrown recklessly into natural karst systems, where groundwater and aquifers serve as community drinking water reservoirs, the same thing might happen.
Increase in natural disasters: Avalanches, fires, and floods can be triggered by climatic changes in mountainous places. All of this could directly impact the population and, in some situations, result in ecological extinction.
Climate alterations: The creation of ocean currents that mix fresh and seawater causes climate changes such as typhoons and tropical storms.
Loss of biodiversity: Many endangered species of flora and fauna find sanctuary in mountainous locations. These locations are critical hotspots because they represent a fragile environment with endangered species.
Increase inequalities in less developed areas: Mountain locations are inherently vulnerable and underdeveloped. Because they represent a fragile environment directly impacted by climate change, these disparities may become more apparent as inequality rises.
Uncontrolled deforestation: Mountainous locations rely heavily on forests. They help us improve air and water quality, prevent erosion on steep terrain, and create visible physical barriers to natural calamities like landslides, mudflows, and rockslides. Furthermore, their roots aid in soil stabilization and flood reduction.
Through ties to invasive species, air pollution, climate change, mining, hydropower, tourism, forests, and agriculture, mountain biodiversity supports global environmental, economic, social, and cultural sectors. As a result, the task is to manage mountain regions sustainably to avoid deterioration and associated rises in poverty and hunger.
M. Tech (Food Technology)
Quality Assurance and R&D