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An uphill climb for mountain species?

nd isolated wetlands) and corridor ecology. Looking at both pro- and con- arguments of an ongoing corridor debate, they present criteria under which corridors may and may not be effective.

The report also examines climate change and its impact on high elevation environments, citing findings that impacts in mountain ecosystems may be greater than any other after those in the arctic. In their conclusion, the authors state that it is important for conservationists to see climate change not as one of numerous independent variables acting on species survival in mountain landscapes, but as an exacerbating force over the many direct human alterations to these areas.

Co-author and Executive Director of WCS's North America Program Jodi Hilty said, "The distribution of biodiversity in mountain ecosystems is determined by such things as elevation and slope. These variables and the relative intactedness of these ecosystems is likely to be a critical factor in maintaining the health of montane species in the face of climate change."

The authors conclude that three distinct research communities focused on corridor ecology, climate change and mountain research will need to work together and provide support in addressing four key questions:

  • What do we need to understand about mountain diversity and its interaction with human communities?
  • How can on-the-ground corridors provide sufficient connectivity between natural mountain communities, species and populations.
  • To what degree will human-caused climate change require us to modify our response to the first two questions?
  • How can we best build resilience into mountain ecosystems?

"Protection of mountain diversity (both biological and cultural) depends on the collaboration of these three research communities in tackling these important questions" said Lawrence (Larry) Hamilton. "Mountains have proven to offer an excellent milieu for both inter- and multi-di

Contact: Stephen Sautner
Wildlife Conservation Society

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