Mountain environments are often perceived to be austere, isolated, and inhospitable. In fact, these areas are of immense value to mankind, providing direct life support to close to 10 percent of the world's population and sustaining a wide variety of species - many of which are endemic to this environment.
'Environmental Change in Mountains and Uplands' provides detailed account of the fragile and marginal physical and socio-economic systems which make up the world's mountain regions. Discussing the direct and indirect impacts of human interference on environmental ecosystems, it then turns to the social and economic consequences of such environmental change - both upon the mountain environment itself and upon the populations who depend on mountain resources for their economic sustenance.
This book includes a review of possible implications for adaption and mitigation strategies in a global context. Working within a broad temporal scale, it draws upon paleoenvironmental records to document past changes which have occured in the absence of major anthropogenic influences, as well as utilising modelling as a means to assessing future environmental change.
Table of Contents
Part 1 - Mountains and uplands an introduction
Mountain regions of the world
Importance of mountain regions to humankind
Current environmental and socio-economic information and statistics
Environmental stresses: the emergence of the human factor
Global environmental change: fundamental issues
Part 2 - Characterization of mountain environments
Ecological systems and biodiversity
Data for research on mountain environments
Part 3 - Past environmental change in mountains and uplands
Proxy data: reconstructing the past
Environmental change in the distant past
Mountain environments during the last major glaciation
Mountain environments during the Holocene
Climatic change in the 20th century
Part 4 - Modelling approaches to assess environmental change
The significance of modelling
Spatial and temporal scales
Global and regional climate models
Semi-empirical methods and statistical downscaling techniques
Integrated assessment models (IAM)
Limits and range of application of models
Part 5 - Natural forcings
The causal mechanisms of anthropogenic pressures on the environment
Part 6 - Impact of environmental change on natural systems
Challenges for impacts assessments
Impacts on hydrology
Impact on mountain cryosphere
Extreme events and their impacts on geomophologic features
Not only serves as a primary reference and standard concerning mountain research but also transmits the spirit of collective responsibility for a fragile part of our planet.
Bulletin of the World Meteorological Organization
Provides some valuable and generally accessible insight into issues related to environmental change in general and mountain environments in particular. it is therefore not only a useful book to complement undergraduate courses addressing environmental change and/or mountain environments, but is also of value to readers with a range of backgrounds who seek an introductory text to these themes, be they environmentalists, people involved in outdoor education or just mountain enthusiasts.
...a broad but interesting book. The author should be pleased to have produced one of few teaching-level texts that will inspire and support students of all abilities and provide the better students with an excellent entry point to the more advanced literature.
Progress in Physical Geography