Geografie 1998, 103, 108-117

Global change in the mountains

Martin Price

University of Oxford, Environmental Change Unit, 11 Bevington Road, Oxford OX2 6NB, United Kingdom

This report identifies the research and information needs towards a greater understanding of the impacts of interacting global processes on mountain regions. It provides an overview of the European Conference on Environmental and Societal Change in Mountain Regions, which took place in Oxford, UK, in December 1997. Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the importance of mountain regions has been increasingly recognised in science and policy initiatives at all levels. Key themes for research on the interactions of environmental and societal change are: a) carbon and nitrogen cycles, b) biodiversity and protected areas, c) gradual and rapid change in mountain landscapes, d) climatic oscillations and extreme events. Long-term and co-ordinated monitoring is vital for both understanding and management of global change. The development of inventories of data and information sharing must be priorities. Central and Eastern Europe is an area of particular attention. Global change research in mountain regions must be interdisciplinary. Partnership of natural and societal scientists from diverse disciplines are crucial, as is the direct involvement of local people in all stages of research and its application.