Did you know?
- Mountains host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and 30% of all Key Biodiversity Areas.”
- Of the 20 plant species that supply 80% of the world’s food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains: maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, and apples.
- More than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life.
Mountains are home to 15% of the world’s population and host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. They provide freshwater for everyday life to half of humanity. Their conservation is a key factor for sustainable development and is part of Goal 15 of the SDGs.
Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. As the global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people.
This problem affects us all. We must reduce our carbon footprint and take care of these natural treasures.
The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN to declare to 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. The first international day was celebrated for the first time the following year, 2003.
Its roots date back to 1992, when the document “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” (called Chapter 13), was adopted as part of the action plan Agenda 21 of the Conference on Environment and Development.
Mountain biodiversity is the theme of this year’s International Mountain Day, so let’s celebrate their rich biodiversity, as well as address the threats they face.
Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.
Biodiversity encompasses the variety of ecosystems, species and genetic resources, and mountains have many endemic varieties. The differentiated topography in terms of altitude, slope and exposure in mountains offers opportunities to grow a variety of high-value crops, horticulture, livestock and forest species.
For example, mountain pastoralists in Pakistan have a highly treasured livestock genetic resource pool with special traits bred into animals, such as disease resilience, which can help adaption to changing climate. Nearly 70% of mountain land is used for grazing and provides manure that enhances soil fertility. Livestock not only produces food items such as milk, butter and meat, but also valuable by-products, such as some of the most precious yarns, like cashmere wool.
However, climate change, unsustainable farming practices, commercial mining, logging, and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. In addition, land use and land cover change, and natural disasters, accelerate biodiversity loss and contribute to creating a fragile environment for mountain communities. Ecosystem degradation, loss of livelihoods and migration in mountains can lead to the abandonment of cultural practices and ancient traditions that have sustained biodiversity for generations.
The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has been increasingly recognized as a global priority. Sustainable Development Goal 15, target four, is dedicated to the conservation of mountains’ biodiversity in consideration of its global relevance. Biodiversity in all ecosystems is in focus, as the United Nations has declared 2021 to 2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and governments prepare to negotiate the post-2020 global biodiversity framework for adoption this year at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).Celebrate this International Day 2020 with your community and friends preparing an event or joining the conversation on social media using the hashtag #MountainsMatter. Pass on some of the key messages, or share about the biodiversity in the mountains near you, or a photo of your favorite mountain.
Date visited: 3 December 2020
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- Adverse inclusion | Casteism | Rural poverty
- Demographic Status of Scheduled Tribe Population of India (Census figures 2011)
- Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes – Report and Recommendations (Technical Advisory Group)
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- State wise population of Scheduled Tribes (ST) and their percentage to the total population in the respective states and to the total STs population
- “What are the Rights of Scheduled Tribes?– Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)
- “What is the Forest Rights Act about?” – Campaign for Survival and Dignity
- “Who are Scheduled Tribes?” – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)
India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
Source: States and Union Territories – About India
Date visited: 4 September 2021
Learn more about India’s 28 States and 8 Union Territories – From Andhra Pradesh to West Bengal | Nutrition >>
Find up-to-date information provided by, for and about Indian authors, researchers, officials, and educators | More search options >>
Search tips: in the search field seen here, type the name of any tribal (Adivasi) community, region, state or language; add keywords of special interest (childhood, language, sacred grove, tribal education, women); consider rights to which Scheduled Tribes are entitled (FRA Forest Rights Act, protection from illegal mining, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, right to education, Universal Declaration of Human Rights); specify any other issue or news item you want to learn more about (biodiversity, climate change, ecology, economic development, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, global warming, health, nutrition and malnutrition, rural poverty)
For a list of websites included in a single search, click here. To search Indian periodicals, magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here. To find an Indian PhD thesis on a particular tribal community, region and related issues, click here >>
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- History | Environmental history and what makes for a civilization – Romila Thapar
- Hunter-gatherer | Man animal conflict | Vanavasi | Sakuntala narrative
- Fruit | Honey & bees | Indigenous knowledge systems | Mushroom | Vegetable
- Involving tribal communities in conservation (Kanyakumari)
- Mountains | Nishad (Nishada, Sanskrit Niṣāda, “tribal, hunter, mountaineer, degraded person outcast”) | Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG)
- Nature and wildlife | Bamboo | Bird | Crocodile | Elephant | Insect | Snake | Tiger | Trees
- Sacred grove | Worship and rituals
- Scheduled Tribes | Classifications in different states
- Success story | “The tribal food basket has always been diverse and nutritious”
- Tribal culture worldwide
- What is the Forest Rights Act about?
Who is a forest dweller under this law, and who gets rights?