Australian Institute of Alpine Studies


No. 3 August 1998


Australia's active volcanos to be investigated

Glaciers Shrinking




Mountain networks


International Year of Mountains

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Australia's active volcanos to be investigated.

Planning has commenced for the first major visit to Heard Island since the 1992 wintering expedition. At a three-day workshop at the Antarctic Division in Hobart a series of proposals covering geoscience/glaciology, marine biology, coastal and terrestrial biology and human impacts were discussed.

There is volcanic activity, both at the summit of Australia's highest mountain (Mawson Peak 2745m) and on the nearby McDonald Islands. Researchers expressed some urgency in examining the active volcanos and also to look at the impact of volcanos on glaciers. Additionally research will be undertaken into the geosphere/biosphere interaction, a detailed chronology of the volcanoes and the development of the regolith. Additional work on the island will look at the impact of the fishery and human impacts, such as introductions of plants and animals and changes to the island through global and local human impact. This particularly applies to retreating glaciers as a result of global warming. Compare the two photographs of Spit Bay in 1951 (courtesy Antarctic Division) and 1992 taken from approximately the same site (the exact location couldn't be replicated because of loss of much of the foreshore).

glacier in 1951


glacier in 1992


The expedition is expected to depart for Heard Island in late 1999 returning in March 2000.

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Glaciers Shrinking

The volume of the world's glaciers outside of Antarctica and the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to decline and the rate of ice loss continues to accelerate, according to a study at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

"In the last century, there has been a significant decrease in the area and volume of glaciers, especially at mid- and low-latitudes," said Professor Emeritus Mark Meier of the geological sciences department. "The disappearance of glacier ice is more pronounced than we previously had thought."

The smaller, low-latitude glaciers seem to be affected the most, said Meier, noting that the largest glacier on Africa's Mount Kenya lost 92 percent of its mass in the last century and Mount Kilimanjaro glaciers have shrunk by 73 percent in that time. Although there were 27 glaciers in Spain in 1980, that number has since fallen to 13.

"I think we might find statistics similar to Spain in places like Africa, New Guinea and parts of South America," said Meier.

Mid-latitude glaciers are also showing significant shrinking, he said. In the European Alps, the ice loss has been about 50 percent in the past century, and New Zealand glaciers have shrunk by about 26 percent since 1890.

In the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, the volume of glacier ice has decreased by about 50 percent in a century, according to calculations by Meier and CU-Boulder researcher Mark Dyurgerov. In the Tien Shan Mountain Range bordering China and Russia, 22 percent of the ice volume from the thousands of glaciers there has disappeared in the past 40 years.

Meier reported the latest results on glaciers in a lecture titled "Land Ice on Earth: A Beginning of a Global Synthesis" at the American Geophysical Union meeting held in Boston from 26 - 29 May.

Researchers have collected detailed data on only a few hundred of the roughly 200,000 glaciers around the world, said Meier. However a new method of "scaling" developed by David Bahr, Meier and Dyurgerov -- all researchers at CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research -- should allow scientists more accurately to assess changes in glaciers of all sizes on a global scale. The new scaling theory involves complex algorithms to define the relationships of several characteristic glacier variables.

"This new method allows more accurate estimations of sizes, thicknesses and volume distributions of glaciers on Earth," said Meier, former director of CU-Boulder's INSTAAR and the National Ice Core Laboratory in Lakewood, Colo. "I think it is a real breakthrough."

Preliminary calculations by Meier on glacier shrinkage in Montana's Glacier National Park indicate there will be no glaciers left there within a century and perhaps far sooner if the current climate trends continue.

"During the past several decades, ice wastage and global sea rise are moving pretty much in step," said Meier. Although the world's glaciers excluding Antarctica and Greenland make up only about 6 percent of the world's total ice mass, the water is recycled more quickly and contributes more to sea level rise than do the polar ice sheets.

"Glacier changes show strong regional differences," he said. "While the Arctic ice caps and glaciers show little change, there is strong wastage of mid-latitude glaciers, and small continental glaciers are disappearing." This is causing significant increases in the flows of some rivers, he said.

"The rate of warming is unprecedented in the last 600 years and the retreat of glaciers is probably unprecedented too, although we do not have the figures to prove it," said Meier. "But I'm convinced there is a detectable human influence in the pattern of climate change we are seeing."

Although melting now contributes about 20 percent to global sea-level rise, the percentage may increase, he said.

The International Panel on Climate Change projected in 1996 that the world's oceans will rise by more than 45 cm by the year 2100, with a third of that contributed by glaciers and ice caps and more than half by the thermal expansion of warming waters, an indirect consequence of glacial melting.

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Alpine Soils in two catchments, Perisher Valley: changes in organic horizon structure since European Settlement.
K. Cousins(a), S.W. Johnston(b) and J.B. Field(a)
(a)Forestry Department, Australian National University, GPO Box 4, Canberra ACT, 0200.
(b)NSW National and Wildlife Service, PO Box 2228, Jindabyne, NSW 2627.

The Perisher Valley, located in the sub-alpine region of Kosciuszko National Park, has experienced both intense grazing activity and more recently, intense resort development over the last 160 years. The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of these anthropogenic activities on the organic horizons alpine soils, focusing on soils found in the highly disturbed Perisher catchment covering 16km2 of the Perisher Valley and the relatively undisturbed Betts Creek catchment covering approximately 9km2.

Soils located in the subalpine, region have developed under adverse conditions; which include high precipitation (1500-2000mm), falling mostly as snow in winter, coupled with high winds and frost activity occurring throughout most of the year. These conditions have resulted in slow decomposition of the plant material and nutrient mineralisation. In alpine soils, in particular the dominant alpine humus soils, a 10-20cm rich surface organic horizon typically covers a poorly weathered mineral horizon containing little humus (Johnston, 1998). This organic horizon, actively ameliorates direct soil based constraints to plant growth, such as, moisture and nutrient availability crusting, pH, erosion. insulation, and soil structure. The integrity of the organic horizon is seen as one of factors governing the intensity of soil disturbance (Haag and Bliss, 1974; Johnston, 1998).

Grazing activity was damaging the alpine soil structure by the removal of vegetation, exposing soil to the extreme environmental characteristics of the Alpine region, namely needle ice formation during freeze/thaw activity and wind and water erosion. Grazing continued for approximately 120 years, until it was discontinued in 1957 when all grazing was excluded above 1370m as it was seen as a threat to the water systems and storages of the Snowy Mountains Scheme (National Parks & Wildlife Service, 1991). However, with the rising popularity of the ski industry, resort development replaced grazing as the main activity in these regions resulting in further disturbance of soils on a number of levels. These include road construction, building development and slope grooming activities on ski runs. It was the slope grooming activities that were most detrimental to the alpine soil structure, especially super grooming, where all vegetation and topsoil were initially scraped away to provide a smooth skiing surface. This practice is no longer permitted within Kosciuszko National Park (Good, 1992)

All soil types examined showed variations in organic matter depth and composition throughout the study area: particularly alpine humus soils and bog soils located on ski runs where slope grooming methods are intense. These soils have a minimal organic horizon or have an upper horizon that has been significantly modified compared to similar soils found in the undisturbed catchment. Refer to table 1.

The most substantial difference between the catchments were that the highly disturbed soils of the Perisher catchment, contained less organic matter, had thinner organic layers, were drier, less acidic, and were more coarse textured than undisturbed soils of the Betts Creek catchment, leading to a significant difference in native plant cover. Therefore, the integrity of the organic horizon, is perhaps the most critical factor influencing soil composition and development and therefore endemic alpine plant species (Johnston, 1998). Because of the natural and cultural heritage value of the Australian Alps and its ever increasing value for recreation, research examining the affects of different forms of disturbance on these catchments is essential in developing management practices appropriate for this environment (Johnston, 1998; Good, 1992).

Table 1. Average values of soil characteristics for different disturbance levels for the organic (A1) soil horizons in both catchments.

Condition Undisturbed Disturbed
Thickness (cm) 23 7
pH 4.39 5.03
Gravel (%) 20 50
Moisture (%) 0.2966 0.1375
Organic Matter 25.1 10.3
Plant cover 98 70

Good, R.B. (1992).'Kosciusko Heritage'. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Sydney.
Haag, R.W. and Bliss, L.C. (1974).'Energy budget changes following surface disturbance to upland tundra.' J. App.Ecol., 11: 355-374.
Johnston, S.W. (1998).'Managing degraded alpine humus soils in Kosciuszko National Park N.S.W.: 1 - soil properties'. ASSSI Nat. Soils Conf. Proc., Brisbane, 306-310.
NSW, National Parks & Wildlife Service. (1991).'Kosciusko grazing: a history'. National Parks & Wildlife Service, Sydney.

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There will be a World Mountain Forum in Chambéry, Savoy, France in June 2000. The joint initiative of the Municipality of Chambéry and the "Association Nationale des Élus de la Montagne-ANEM" aim at gathering representatives of the world mountains under the sign of solidarity. Events will include seminars, tours, exhibitions, a film festival, and cultural initiatives. The organising committee presently includes representatives from Italy, Austria, Spain, Switzerland and France.

For further information contact: atemploimontagne@chambé or fax++33.4.79 60 20 74

American Geophysical Union 1998 Fall Meeting December 6-10, 1998 San Francisco, Call for Papers.
Abstract Deadlines: August 26, 1998 (Postal/Express Mail) September 2, 1998 (Interactive Web Submission)
Special sections related to mountains:

American Geophysical Union web site:

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Mountain Forum
Documents Newly Available in the Mountain Forum's On-line Library and Reference Database as of June 1998 are available on the Mountain Forum's world wide web site at in the "Resources" section.

If you do not have access to the World Wide Web, you may request the documents by e-mail from the Mountain Forum Moderator by e-mailing <>. Please specify whether you can receive an attachment (Word, WordPerfect, or Rich Text). If you are not able to receive e-mail attachments, you may request the documents as plain, unformatted e-mail text.

Colloquium on Sustainable Tourism at the 7th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, May 27-31, University of Missouri - Columbia. Abstracts:

Munic, J. 1998. Influence of Tourist Activities on Mountain Regions. Paper presented to the Mountain Forum E-conference on "Community-based Mountain Tourism":

Hughey, K. 1997. Big Business and the Mountain Environment: Focus on Mining. Lincoln University, New Zealand:

Ponte, A. 1998. Teta de Niquitao - Guirigay Natural Monument, Venezuela:

Tapia, M. E., Rueda, J.L. 1995. "Production Systems and Alternative Livelihoods". Thematic Issue Paper for the Consultation on the Mountain Agenda. Lima, Peru:

Mountain Forum. 1998. Interim Facilitating Committee Meeting Report. The Mountain Institute, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, International Potato Center:

Mountain Forum. Mountain Forum Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue 1 .The Mountain Institute, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and International Potato Center, March 1998:

K.K. Agencies. 1998. Bibliography of new (1997-1998) books on cultures of the Indian subcontinent:

Knutelski, S. 1998. Publications list:

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Mountain Networks

This list was created by Elizabeth Byers for her paper "The Mountain Forum: Learning to Communicate within a Pluralistic Network" which was presented at a UN FAO Workshop on Pluralism and Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development, December 1997, and which is currently being revised and updated. This paper is available on Forum's on-line library at:

The list below is not one of organisations, but rather a list of mountain focused networks, both large and small; global, regional and local:

African Mountain Forum (in the formation process)
Interim contact: Jason Espie, Mountain Forum Global Information Server Node, The Mountain Institute, P.O. Box 907, Franklin, WV 26807 USA. Tel.: 1-304-358-2401, Fax: 1-304-358-2400, E-mail:, Web: .

African Mountains Association
Contact: Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, Secretary General, African Mountains Association, P.O. Box 12760, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Fax 0025 11 55 23 50, E-mail:

African Mountain Protected Areas Network
Contact: Peter Blignaut, 14 Kreupelbosch Way, Constantia, Cape Town 7800, South Africa; tel 27 21 794 48 36; fax 27 21 930 23 08, Email:

Lesotho Mountain Research Group
Contact: None Mokitimi, Institute of Southern African Studies, National University of Lesotho P O Roma 130, Lesotho tel: (09266) 340601/340247, fax: (09266) 340000, Email:

Community Environment Network, South Africa
Contact: Michael Cohen, Community Environment Network, 36 River Road, Walmer Port Elizabeth 6070 South Africa. Tel: 27-41-512 983, Fax: 27-41-512 983, Email:

MF-AFRICA email list (mountain issues in Africa)
Contact: Mountain Forum Moderator, E-mail:

Asia Pacific Mountain Forum and Asia Pacific Mountain Network
Contact: Shahid Akhtar and Kishor Pradhan, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, G.P.O. Box 3226, Kathmandu, Nepal Tel.: (00977-1) 523313 Fax: (00977-1) 536747 E-mail: Web:

Australasia-Pacific Mountain Forum
Contact: Kenneth Hughey, Director, Centre for Mountain Studies, P.O. Box 84, Lincoln University, New Zealand. Tel.: (03) 3252 811, E-mail: <>. Web:

North Central Asia Mountain Forum
Contact: Yuri Badenkov Institute of Geography, Russian Academy, Staromonvtny, 29, 109017, Moscow, Russia. Tel.: +7 (095) 418 5532, Fax: +7 (095) 959 00 33, E-mail: <>.

West Asia Mountain Forum
Contact: Onur Erkan Head, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Cukurova, 01330 Adana, Turkey. Tel.: 90-322.338 6090, Fax: 90-322.338 6746, E-mail: .

South East Asia Mountain Forum
Contact: Lucrecio L. Rebugio, Professor and Dean, University of the Philippines Los Banos, College of Forestry, College, Laguna, Philippines. P.O. Box 132. Tel.: 63-49-536-3996, Fax: 63-49-536-3206, E-mail: .

North East Asia Mountain Forum
Contact: Hajime Makita, College of Liberal Arts, Hirosaki University, Japan. Tel/Fax: 81 172 393956, E-mail:

Australian Mountain Protected Areas Network
Contact: Graeme Worboys, Regional Manager, Southern Region, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, P O Box 733, Queanbeyan NSW 2620, Australia. Tel: 61 62 97 61 44; Fax 61 62 97 48 51, Email: .

Nepal Studies Association and Himalayan Research Bulletin
Contact: Barbara Brower, Geography Department, Portland State University, Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751 USA. Phone: (1-800) 547-8887; ask for 725-8312; (503) 725-8044 or 725-8312, Fax: (503) 725-3166, Email:

Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists
Contact: Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists, PO Box 5143, Thapathali, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: 977 1 231991, Fax: 977 1 227691.

Himalayan Explorers Club and HimalayaNet email list
Contact: Scott Dimetrosky, President, Himalayan Explorers Club, PO Box 3665, Boulder, CO 80307 USA. Fax: 1-303-494-8822, Email: , Web:

Kathmandu Environmental Education Project
Contact: KEEP, P.O. Box 9178, Jyatha Thamel, Kathmandu. Tel: 977 1 250646, Fax: 977-1-411533, Email:

European Mountain Forum (in the formation process)
Interim Contact: Martin Price, Programme Leader, Mountain Regions Programme, Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford, 11 Bevington Road, Oxford OX2 6NB UK, Tel: +44-(0)1865-274710 (direct), +44-(0)1865-281180 (messages), Fax: +44-(0)1865-284691 / 281202, E-mail:, Web:

Carpathians Mountain Forum
Contact: Peter Sabo, IUCN Slovakia, Vysoka 18, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia, Tel/fax: +421-7-536-1175, E-mail:

Caucasian Mountain Network and Caucasus Mountain Forum
Contact: Ivan Vashakmadze, Director, Sustainable Tourism Centre, Georgia 14 Griboeduv Street 380008 Tbilisi, Tel.: 00 (9532) 995873, Fax: 00 (9532) 995873, E-mail:

Central/Western Middle European Mountain Forum (Massif Central, Vosges, Harz, Black Forest, French Jura, Swiss Jura, Polish Sudeten, Czech Sudenten)
Contact: Krzystof Kormoniki, ZDANIE Association, 57-516 St. Bystrzyla, Wojitowice 19 Poland. Tel.: 00-48-22-621 3439, Fax: 00-48-74-111 880/00-48-22-621 3439, Email:

Central/Western Middle European Mountain Forum (French Jura)
Contact: Patrick Gury, Director, Franche Comte Envie, Besancon. Tel/fax:33-3-81470234.

Central/Western Middle European Mountain Forum (Czech Sudeten)
Contact: Joseph Pivonka, Krknoski National Park. Tel/fax:420-43823095.

Northern European Mountain Forum
Contact: Tom Warren, Director, High Mountain Research Station - Finse, c/o Biological Institute, Box 1050, Blindern, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo Norway. Tel:+47 22 85 47 94, Fax: +47 22 85 46 05, E-mail:

Contact: Francois Parvex, CH-Regio, La Place, 1837 Chateau-d'Oex, Switzerland, Tel: 026-924-72-80, Fax: 026-924-79-97, Email:, Web:

MF-EUROPE email list (mountain issues in Europe)
Contact: Mountain Forum Moderator, E-mail:

Latin American Mountain Forum and MF-LAC email list
Contact: Ana Maria Ponce, CIP/CONDESAN, Centro Internacional de al Papa (CIP), Apartado Postal 1558, Lima 100 Peru. Tel: 51-1-349 6017, Fax: 51-1-349 5638, Email:, Web:

Consortium for the sustainable development of the Andean ecoregion (CONDESAN) and InfoAndina
Contact: Ana Maria Ponce, CIP/CONDESAN, Centro Internacional de al Papa (CIP), Apartado Postal 1558, Lima 100 Peru. Tel: 51-1-349 6017, Fax: 51-1-349 5638, Email: , Web:

Andean Mountains Association
Contact: Fausto O. Sarmiento, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Georgia, G40 Baldwin Hall, Campus. Athens, GA 30602-1619 USA. Phone: 1-706.542.9079, Fax: 1-706.542.8432, Email: , Web:

Red de los Andes Centrales-Peru
Contact: Jorge Recharte, Instituto de Montaña, Apartado 01, Huaraz, PERU. Tf.: (51-44) 723446, Fx.: (51-44) 726610. Email:

Red Agroforestal Ecuatoriana (RAFE)
Contact: Juan Carlos Romero, National Co-ordinator of RAFE, Tele-Fax 593-2-227977, E-mail:
RAFE is a non governmental, non profit organisation which works as a link node of several institutions (NGOs, GOs, international projects, and other organisations). RAFE has the aim of delivering information, experiences and technical support in renewable natural resources management to all of them. RAFE is also linked with organisations working in paramo and Andean ecosystems.

Contact: Ana Oestreich, Programa de Bosques, Unión Mundial para la Naturaleza, Oficina Regional para América del Sur, UICN SUR, Ave. Atahualpa 955 y República, Edificio DIGICOM, 4to. Piso, Quito - Ecuador. Tel: ++ 593 2 466622, ++ 593 2 466623, Fax: ++ 593 2 466624. Email:
The IUCN-Sur Forest Program has developed a regional (South America) network, with its member institutions and partners. Particularly, some members work in the Andean Region, as the Fundacion Jatun Sacha, Fundacion Natura, Fundacion Maquipucuna, etc, and they are in this network. The Program to Andean Native Forest Ecosystem Conservation - PROBONA - is a program co-executed by IUCN and Intercoperation - IC in Bolivia and Ecuador, since 1993. It is based in developing demonstrative actions in some representative areas of Andean Forests to promote the substitution of degradative income for others no degradative. It is in its fourth phase (1998-2001) and recently it was chosen as the star project of IUCN in South America. More information regarding PROBONA is available from: "Eric Chevalier" <> "Xavier Izko"<> "Antonienta Noli"<>

MF-DISCUSS email list (Andean Paramos issues)
Contact: Mountain Forum Moderator, E-mail:

North American Mountain Forum (in the formation process)
Interim Contact: Jason Espie, Mountain Forum Global Information Server Node, The Mountain Institute, P.O. Box 907, Franklin, WV 26807 USA. Tel.: 1-304-358-2401, Fax: 1-304-358-2400, E-mail: Web: .

The Corridor (Southern Appalachian Culture and Natural Heritage Forum)
Contact: Brian O'Connor, The Corridor, P.O. Box 123, Waynesboro, VA 22980 USA. Tel: (540) 949-7687, Fax (540) 949-7740, Email:

Appalachian Restoration Campaign/Heartwood
Contact: Appalachian Restoration Campaign, P.O. Box 5541, Athens, OH 45701 USA. Tel: 1-614-592-3968, Email: Web:

Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition
Contact: PO Box 2059, Asheville, NC 28802 USA. Email:, Web:

Rocky Mountain Institute
Contact: RMI, 1739 Snowmass Creek Road, Snowmass, Colorado 81654-9199 USA. Tel: 1-970-927-3851, Fax: 1-970-927-3420, Email:, Web: .

MF-NAMERICA email list (North American mountain issues)
Contact: Mountain Forum Moderator, E-mail:

Mountain Forum and MTN-FORUM email list
Contact: Mountain Forum Moderator, Mountain Forum Global Information Server Node, The Mountain Institute, P.O. Box 907, Franklin, WV 26807 USA. Tel.: 1-304-358-2401, Fax: 1-304-358-2400, E-mail: Web:

Mountain Protected Areas Network
Contact: Lawrence Hamilton, Islands and Highlands Environmental Consultancy, 342 Bittersweet Lane, Charlotte, Vermont 05445 USA. Tel/fax: 1-802-425-6509.

FAO Mountain Programme and FAO Inter-agency Task Force on Agenda 21, Chapter 13
Contact: FAO Mountain Programme, Forestry Resources Division, FAO Via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome Italy Tel.: (396) 57055978, Fax: 57055978, E-mail: , Web:

International Mountain Society and Mountain Research and Development Journal
Contact: Jack D. Ives, Department of Geography, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Fax: (613) 520-4301 E-mail:

The Banff Centre for Mountain Culture
Contact: Banff CMC, Box 1020, Station 38, 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff, Alberta T0L 0C0, Canada. Tel: (403) 762-6369, Fax: (403) 762-6277, Email: CMC@BanffCentre.AB.CA, Web:

World Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA)
Contact: UIAA, Monbijoustrasse 61, CH-3007 Bern, Switzerland. Tel: 41 31 370 18 28, Fax: 41 31 370 18 38, Email:, Web:

International Geographical Union, Commission on Mountain Geoecology and Sustainable Development
Contact: Matthias Winiger, Geographical Institute, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn, Germany. Tel: 49-228-73 7239, Fax: 49-228-73 7506, E-mail: , Web:

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MOUNTAIN RESEARCH GROUP of The Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)

Invitation to membership
Mountain regions have long been important locations for study for geographers and many other scientists. Just as mountain ranges are typically isolated and scattered around the world, geographers and others concerned with mountains have typically worked somewhat independently. To bring together this 'mountain community' , and recognising the increasing attention given to mountain environments and peoples in recent years, the RGS-IBG Mountain Research Group has been established.

Membership is open to scientists, practitioners, and all those interested or working in mountain regions, whether or not they are Fellows of the RGS-IBG. We anticipate that a significant proportion of researchers who are based in Britain and work in mountain regions will join the MRG, and also encourage membership from Fellows of e RGS-IBG and others from around the world.

Activities: The Mountain Research Group will hold at least one annual meeting and publish a regular newsletter, which will also be available on the Internet. A further activity will be to maintain a database of scientists actively working in mountain regions, in order to maximise opportunities for awareness of ongoing research, and possibilities for collaboration.

This activity has been started through the Mountain Regions Programme of the Environmental Change Unit of the University of Oxford. In December 1997, this programme organised the European Conference on Environmental and Societal Change in Mountain Regions. This highly interdisciplinary and international conference was attended by 128 people from 30 countries. A strong interest in follow-up was proposed, to ensure an ongoing and active network of scientists and practitioners based in the UK but working in mountains around the world.

Many of the 130 participants from the Oxford Conference have already submitted their details of research to the Mountain Research Database found at: This searchable database contains contact information for researchers, subject and location of research as well as det ls of funding and a 200-word abstract. All members of the MRG, and their colleagues working in mountain areas, are encouraged to list themselves on the database.

Membership details: Membership of the group is automatic and without charge to all Fellows of the RGS-IBG (FRGS), who can join either free of charge, or for the additional fee of £2 according to the rules of Research Group membership. Individuals who are not FRGS are encouraged to join, for an annual membership fee of five pounds.

Members of the MRG will have the right to:

On behalf of the initial committee of the MRG - Don Funnell (University of Sussex: Secretary), Dave Petley (University of Portsmouth: Treasurer), and Martin Price (University of Oxford: Chair) - I invite you to join this new initiative, and look forward to hearing from you. In particular, we welcome your ideas for activities of he MRG, and your input to the research database. And we very much hope to meet you at one of the MRG's meetings in the mountains or elsewhere, in the not-too-distant future.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Price

Elliot Robertson Mountain Regions Programme Environmental Change Unit University of Oxford 11 Bevington Road Oxford OX2 6NB UK Tel: + 44 (0) 1865 274709 / 10 or 281180 (for messages) Fax: + 44 (0) 1865 284691 / 281202 e-mail: or Internet:

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International Year of Mountains

Information from Anne Rogers of UN/DESA/DSD and El Hadji Sene of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations is that the ECOSOC has adopted, by consensus, a resolution recommending that the General Assembly, at its 53rd session, proclaim the year 2002 as the International Year of Mountains.

The draft enjoyed very wide support, with 106 co-sponsors. The draft resolution number is E/1998/L.21. This will be changed when the list of final ECOSOC resolutions is compiled.

If approved by the General Assembly, the International Year of Mountains should provide an great opportunity for cooperation and research on critical mountain issues.

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