header image

Swiss-Austrian Alliance for mountain research — a model for the US?

Here’s an interesting international model for mountain research (basic and applied)


From their website:

What we offer…


  • a great network of almost 2000 scientists working in Swiss or Austrian mountains
  • a database where you can find / can be found by other interested scientists
  • a communication channel where you can distribute news on your activities, projects, events, etc. throughout the community (send us any news)
  • events such as the CH-AT Mountain Mixer at EGU 2015
  • individual support for projects, events, travel fund, etc
  • information on and the possibility to participate in major CH-AT projects, such as the lobbying effort “Mountains for Europe’s Future” in 2015
  • and much more!


Category:  Uncategorized     

FAO and Mountain Partnership to Launch Mountain Funding Facility

fao_mountain27 April 2016: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat announced plans to launch a Mountain Facility, or funding mechanism, to address the increasing threat of hunger in mountain regions in developing countries.

The announcement of the facility follows the 2015 launch of the report ‘Mapping the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity,’ released by FAO and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat on International Mountain Day. The report finds that the number of food insecure people living in mountain regions in developing countries increased from 253 million in 2000 to 329 million in 2012. Through the Mountain Facility, FAO aims to respond to this trend by supporting actions that empower vulnerable mountain communities; address long-term and emerging challenges related to climate change; increase market access; and promote natural resource management. The funding mechanism will also aim to increase food security and eradicate poverty, in line with the FAO Strategic Programme and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) relevant to hunger and poverty. FAO also aims to channel resources through the Mountain Facility with the goal of including mountains in national development plans and developing strong mountain-specific policies and institutions.

The announcement was made on Earth Day, 22 April 2016, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, during a meeting convened by the Permanent Missions to the UN of Costa Rica, Italy, Switzerland and Uganda, four governments that belong to the Mountain Partnership. At the event, François Pythoud, Switzerland, stressed that investments in mountain regions are profitable and rewarding, and emphasized the importance of long-term support for the Mountain Partnership Secretariat. Davide Bradanini, Italy, invited coordinated action to widen the reach of the Partnership. FAO Assistant Director-General René Castro Salazar said that fighting hunger and boosting development worldwide cannot be discussed without giving special attention to the “plight and needs” of mountain peoples.

The Facility will raise funds to tackle hunger in mountain regions through five areas of intervention: local economies, climate change adaptation, natural resources, policy and capacity building. Examples of interventions include improving value chains of environmentally-friendly mountain products, increasing access to training and credit for vulnerable groups including women and indigenous peoples, and creating disaster risk management (DRM) plans that can help communities mitigate shocks. The facility also aims to support actions that preserve and restore water sources, soils and forests, and protect mountain biodiversity. [Mountain Partnership Press Release] [FAO Press Release] [Publication: Mapping the Vulnerability of Mountain Peoples to Food Insecurity] [IISD RS Coverage of 2015 Mountain Day and Report Launch]


Category:  Uncategorized     

Mountain Studies Coffee #2

The next Mountain Studies Coffee & Catalyzing Conversations will be held on Thursday, May 19th from 10:00-11:30AM.

We are meeting in Strand Agriculture, Room 340

Please join us for all or part of that time.

We will be discussing progress since our last gathering and next steps.

Progress since our last gathering includes:
1. Mountain Studies website/blog
2. Mountain Studies listserv (please sign up!)
3. Mountain Geography syllabus developed for 200-level Bacc Core core

On May 13th, I’ll be meeting with colleagues at the OSU-Cascades campus to discuss mutual interests in Mountain Studies and opportunities for cross-campus collaboration. I’ll update the group on that discussion as well.

Next steps:

  • New research opportunities
  • Discuss 2017 proposal to NSF Research Traineeship Program
  • Mountain Studies weekend in Sunriver

Coffee, tea, and pastries will be served so please RSVP by May 16th
Grad students and post-docs are welcome (but need to RSVP)

Category:  Uncategorized     

Why Mountains?

Why are mountains an interesting and relevant focus:

  • Mountains are ubiquitous: Mountains occur on every continent and thus span an extreme range of climatic, latitudinal, economic, and socio-political conditions.
  • Mountains are complex and diverse: Mountains are physically remote and isolated spaces forming barriers and borders and creating naturally fragmented landscapes. This presents challenges for trade, migration and other aspects of connectivity, but further contributes to high levels of endemism and social-ecological diversity.
  • Mountains are marginalized regions: Mountains are often extreme environments with marginal agricultural production potential. Moreover, physical isolation and distance from centers of power and decision-making, and high representation of indigenous peoples and cultures, result in social, economic and political isolation and marginalization.
  • Mountains are productive: Mountains deliver valuable ecosystem services from local to global scales including fresh water, hydropower, timber, and recreation.
  • Mountains are hazardous: The climatic extremes and kinetic energy associated with mountains makes them prone to devastating hazards such as floods, debris flows, rock and snow avalanches, and extreme weather patterns. These are hazards because people live in and use mountain environments.

Category:  Uncategorized     

Mountain Studies Workshop, held on 11/2/2015

Sponsored by funds made available from an LL Stewart Faculty Development grant, we held a community-building workshop focused on Mountain Studies.

A key step in building a Mountain Studies initiative is to get to know the various faculty engaged in mountain-related research and teaching. This workshop attracted over 40 faculty from OSU and OSU-Cascades Campus, representing forestry, natural resources, geology, hydrology, anthropology, economics, tourism & recreation, soil science and botany.

Our keynote speaker was Dr. Sarah Halvorson who directs the Mountain Studies program at the University of Montana. She shared her curriculum and other programmatic information that were helpful. Discussions at this day-long meeting examined teaching, research, and programmatic interests in mountain studies.

A key outcome of the workshop is an interest in developing an undergraduate minor in Mountain Studies, potentially as a joint effort between our two OSU campuses.

Category:  Uncategorized     

Building a Mountain Studies community at OSU

Welcome to the Mountain Studies website

This web space is intended to serve as a nexus for information related to mountain research and education at OSU and OSU-Cascades.


Category:  Uncategorized