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Ecological Sciences and Research

The UK National Commission for UNESCO Scotland Committee’s work in the area of ecological sciences focuses on the management of wild landscapes and the state of global changes which affect Mountain regions.

Wild Landscapes and Biodiversity

Scotland’s wild landscapes are of immeasurable value to Scottish society. Our understanding of what makes a landscape wild, of where our wildest areas are, and of how we should protect and enhance such areas is growing; however, many of Scotland’s wilder areas represent contested landscapes for a wide variety of stakeholders with contrasting interests and objectives. Through events such as the “Scotland’s Wild Landscapes - New Ways Forward“ conference and through the engagement of Committee and Network members, the UKNC Scotland Committee aims to foster debate and influence the policy directions which can be taken to ensure a sustainable future for Scotland’s wild landscapes.

Global Change in Mountain Regions

Mountain areas occupy 24% of the Earth’s land surface; they are home to 12% of the global population, and another 14% of the population live in their immediate proximity. Globally, mountain areas are vital sources of water for agricultural, industrial, and domestic use.  They include major centres of biodiversity, often coinciding with centres of cultural diversity where traditional ecological knowledge is maintained.

Global change, including processes ranging from climate change to economic globalisation, disproportionately affects mountain areas and the billions of people who depend on them for their livelihoods. Mountain systems are particularly fragile as well, so many mountain ecosystems are moving along trajectories that couple high rates of environmental change with strong economic changes.  The collective effect may be to alter the ability of these ecosystems to provide critical goods and services to both mountain and lowland people.

The UNESCO GLOCHAMORE network addressed these issues in the Open Science Conference of the GLOCHAMORE (Global Change and Mountain Regions), with support from UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, which took place in Perth, Scotland. The event was organised by the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College UHI in collaboration with the other GLOCHAMORE project partners, and was attended by 210 people from 41 countries.  Published outcomes can be found here.

In 2010, a follow-up conference in Scotland will bring together leading scientists and others working in, and concerned with, mountain areas around the world in order to:

  • present, evaluate and synthesise progress in our understanding of global change in mountain regions since 2005
  • work proactively on a global agenda for research and action relating to global change and mountain regions, taking into consideration global assessment and policy processes, such as those relating to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

You can read more about this event here.

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