Updated November 10, 2022
24 percent of the Earth’s land surface area covered by mountains and 26 percent of the world’s populations reside in and around mountain areas. Mountain ecosystem services provide various goods and services to a significant proportion of humanity. People living in the mountain and people living outside, both are the beneficiaries of the Mountain ecosystem. Mountains are an important source of water, energy, minerals, forest product, agricultural products, etc. They are the largest reservoir of freshwater. 68 percent of the world’s freshwater is found in mountains in the form of ice caps and glaciers. Mountains are key centers of biological and cultural diversity as well as important sites of traditional ecological knowledge and influence the climate to a great extent. They play an important part in raining and regulating climate, air quality, and water flow. In other words, they provide multiple ecosystem services across our planet.
However, the development initiatives, tourist activities, and several other human actions like inappropriate agricultural and forestry practices and extractive industries have led to the degradation of the mountain ecosystem. Because, these practices cause volcanic and seismic events, loss of vegetation and soil, etc. that creates a disturbance in the mountain ecosystem. So, it is very important not only for mountain communities but also for a large proportion of the global population, to restore the mountain ecosystem from the negative impact of development initiatives and tourism,
Ways to Restore the Mountain ecosystem
Although development initiatives and tourism have their own advantages, at the same time they can have a serious impact on the environment, the people reside in and around, and on the local economy. As more and more people visit the mountains and more development initiatives take place in the valleys, the chances of the mountain ecosystem being permanently damaged become ever greater. But there are some ways, Mountain ecosystem can be restored.
Practicing conservation efforts
Conservation efforts such as regeneration of natural water springs and ecosystem processes, plantation of bamboo trees for mitigating risks, and increasing soil and water holding capacity.
Sustainable use of land and forest
Improved land management practices and the development of best practice guidelines for communal forest management and soil health management will help to prevent the loss of soil and vegetation.
Developing ways to decipher
To restore the mountain ecosystem, it is important to develop ways to decipher, analyze, and map the present status of ecosystem services over the landscape.
Identification of intervention
Identification of intervention by involving communities with the aim of restoring vital ecosystem components (goods and services) and increasing broader scale functionality and health.
Making the visitors aware
Educating the visitors about the effect of climate change on the mountain ecosystem and increase awareness about the benefits of a sustainable mountain ecosystem.
Minimal use of motor transport
To restore the mountain ecosystem, Minimizing the use of motorized transport and waste generation in mountain areas and in their immediate proximity is very crucial.
Replication of Good practices
Replicate good practices that are already in action. For example, white pod, a unique tourist camp of the swiss Alps made up of semi-permanent dome-shaped tents or pods. The furniture in this is made from recycled material or sustainably harvested wood.
To Restore the Mountain Ecosystem, How effective is ecological restoration?
In the present day, ecological restoration is regarded as a major approach for increasing the provision of ecosystem services as well as reversing biodiversity losses. It is now widely recognized that nature conservation and conservation management strategies do not necessarily possess trade-offs between the ‘environment’ and ‘development’. Ecological restoration can potentially contribute to the improvement of human livelihood and can also enhance biodiversity. Investment in preservation, restoration, and sustainable ecosystem use is increasingly seen as a ‘win-win’ situation that generates substantial ecological, social, and economic benefit.
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