European Environment Agency Publishes Mountain Biodiversity Message

28 July 2010: The European Environment Agency has published the eighth of its “Ten Messages for 2010,” the International Year of Biodiversity, focusing on mountain ecosystems.

According to the message, mountain ecosystems are essential for regulating climate and water cycles, while they are threatened by land abandonment, intensification of agriculture, infrastructure development, unsustainable exploitation and climate change. With specific regard to climate change, the message notes that average temperatures increased by approximately 2 degrees in the Alps between the late 19th and early 21st centuries, which has resulted in: a significant decrease in glacier volume; less snow and more rain in the winter, resulting in more runoff in winter and less in spring and summer; and more than half of mountain plant species facing extinction by 2100. The message concludes that managing mountains sustainably relies on effective policies and actions at regional and local levels. [Message 8]