When you think of most fascinating landscapes, mountains top the list of things that comes to one’s mind. The very thought of looking at the snow-capped peaks of the majestic Himalayas or other mountain ranges, evokes the fascinating feeling gripping the minds. Many have trained for long years to scale these mountain peaks. Their unique topography, climate and isolation led to the mountain ranges becoming home for a wide variety of life forms and biodiversity. In many ancient cultures, it is believed that mountains were something spiritual – serving as the home of the Gods, or a place to get closer to God.
Mountains are landforms which rise for over 600 meters than the surrounding land area. Mountains stand as one of the most remarkable geological landforms in the world and often characterise the region in which they are located. There are three ways in which mountains are formed, volcanic, fold and block mountains. All of these are the result of plate tectonics, where compressional forces, forces surface rock upward, creating a landform higher than the surrounding features. Some of the majestic mountains belonging to these varieties are Mount Fuji in Japan (volcanic mountain), Himalayan mountain chain (fold mountains), Vindhya and Satpura horsts in India (block mountains).
Mountains cover about 27% of the earth, 30% of all key biodiversity areas are in the mountains, source of valuable medicinal plants and home to 15% of the world´s population. Most of the perennial rivers have their origin to mountains. Today mountains are under threat due to overexploitation, commercial mining, and the climate change over looming their survival. What effects mountains affects the entire human population.
To bring awareness and importance of preserving mountains led the UN to declare the observance of the International Year of Mountains on December 11 and is celebrated since 2003. The realisation and the need for preservation of mountains dates to 1992, reflected in adopting the document “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” as part of the action plan Agenda 21 of the Conference on Environment and Development. Biodiversity in all ecosystems is in focus, as the United Nations has declared 2021 to 2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has been increasingly recognised as a global priority. Sustainable Development Goal 15, target four, is dedicated to the conservation of mountains’ biodiversity in consideration of its global relevance.
It is time all nature and mountain lovers engage in discussing and acting on how to best conserve the fragile mountain environment – its flora and fauna. More importantly, many human tribes depend on them for their survival.