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The tropical Andes region has extraordinary biological diversity with considerable endemism. The complex topography, climate, geology, and biogeographic history of the Andes have helped create a high turnover in species over distance and along steep environmental gradients. The humid montane and premontane forests of the tropical Andes compete with the lowland Amazonian forests in species richness. Long-term maintenance of diversity in the tropical Andes requires a management strategy that takes account of landscape patterns. Especially in heterogeneous regions such as Andean forests, management of the landscape is more appropriate for biodiversity conservation than management of local sites.
The Sierra de Portuguesa is an Andean mountain system with important biodiversity associated with montane vegetation types. Human use existed well before European colonization. Coffee plantations and slash-and-burn agriculture have been predominant in the last 200 years. Three distinct national parks—Yacambú, Terepaima, and Guache—were designated there at different times, according to different criteria. None is large enough to preserve entire montane ecosystems or a viable population of large mammals like the Andean bear. We propose maintenance and restoration of forest interconnections—or corridors—between the parks. Different approaches are considered to implement corridors, on the basis of consensus building among key social and political actors, with top-down and bottom-up approaches that we consider ecologically, socially, and politically sustainable.
The Hindu Kush–Himalayan Mountains extend 3500 km, cover 3.5 million km2, and include parts of 8 countries. They are home to many spectacular lakes and wetlands, a major source of water and regulators of water storage. Eighty-four peaks above 7300 m and innumerable others over 6000 m are interspersed with thousands of lakes and wetlands, some of which are rich in biodiversity and are home to rare species. Whereas the mountains have attracted attention, there is very little documentation on water bodies in the region. Some lakes are above 5000 m. Conservation of these fragile ecosystems is important, particularly in an era of international tourism, climate change, and megaprojects in the region.
The number and area of nature reserves in China have increased significantly in the last 2 decades. This massive increase has not been matched by a corresponding enhancement of management inputs and capabilities. Six major problems in protected area (PA) management are identified in this article: selection of unsuitable sites for conservation, shortage of funding, rising people–park conflicts, the paper park syndrome, multiple but disparate management agents, and lack of international experience. Five management quandaries are discussed to highlight the major dilemmas, ie, whether the reserves should exclude traditional resource-tapping activities, whether non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should be encouraged to help management agents, whether the management should earn income from the reserves, whether they should be the umpire or a player in the utilization of natural resources in reserves, and whether an integrated management structure should supersede the present compartmentalized arrangement. Finally, specific recommendations are obtained from the study.
Fulufjället, with an area of 385 km2, was recently designated Sweden's 28th national park. This article describes how the park establishment process turned negative local opinion positive. The basis for success was a shift of focus from restrictions inside the boundaries of the national park to opportunities outside. This “inside-out” process implies a new approach to area protection and local community participation in Sweden. This is in line with the contemporary Swedish nature conservation strategy based on the principle of sustainability, which takes account of both ecological and socioeconomic development in a district.
The iconic summer tourism destination in the Australian Alps National Parks is the summit area of continental Australia's highest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko. Currently 70,000 people visit the alpine area during the snow-free period each year, and about 21,000 of these take a day-walk to the summit and back. The environmental impacts of summer tourism include: soil compaction and erosion; introduction and spread of weeds; fecal contamination of lakes and creeks; increased feral animals; and vegetation clearance. The principal management responses have been: hardening of tracks; provision of toilets; education, including minimum-impact codes; and restrictions on activities such as camping in the catchment areas of glacial lakes. Currently, only the access tracks and immediate alpine area around the summit of Mt Kosciuszko receive so many visitors in such a small area. The summit area has become a honeypot focusing tourism and its impacts at one site. Effective management is needed to ensure that the summit along with the rest of the Kosciuszko alpine area remains viable for conservation and outdoor recreation.
The unique assemblages of flora and fauna in the Himalayan region make it one of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the Indian subcontinent. Seventy-five protected areas (PAs) encompassing 9.48% of the region have been created to conserve this biodiversity and the fragile Himalayan landscape (Figure 1). However, this has engendered conflicts between PA management and local communities that suffer from restrictions on access to biomass resources. When resource use in PAs is prohibited, the implications of the conflict are more severe for local women, who bear the burden of day-to-day survival. Initiatives to empower women are hampered by women's lack of education and skills and by low self-esteem resulting from their marginalization by sociocultural taboos. Incentives are needed to promote meaningful participation by women in biodiversity conservation initiatives.
The aim of this article is two fold: first, to depict key species and relate them to landscape units (LUs) to define habitats; second, to generate a sound network of protected areas to ensure the functional integrity of the ecosystem. In the present study, 6500 vertebrate and vascular plant species records were gathered into a database. A total of 137 sampling units were surveyed to verify key species and depict discrete LUs (scale 1:25,000). Using multivariate statistics (detrended correspondence analysis and canonical correspondence analysis), key species were selected and associated with LUs in a geographical information system. From the 1162 species recorded, 122 were identified as key species based on their endemicity and conservation status (12 amphibians, 42 reptiles, 37 birds, 11 mammals, and 20 vascular plants). Volcanic bodies and Holocene lava flows contain most key species but harbor less species overall, whereas mixed forest, meadows and crops, foot slopes, and accumulation plains harbor fewer key species but a greater number overall. These patterns were spatially displayed and discussed in light of their role in conservation and participatory management after over 15 years of research.
This article examines the judgments of staff from protected area agencies responsible for managing tourism and its environmental impacts in the largest area of snow country in Australia. In surveys, staff identified as having major responsibility for tourism management in the Australian Alps protected areas consider that tourism has important negative environmental impacts; the impacts of ski resorts on adjacent natural areas are often more important than impacts of more general tourism activities further away from ski resorts; the most important environmental impacts were on water quality; native fauna was adversely affected through tourism activities that resulted in increased numbers of feral animals and habitat reduction and fragmentation; there was a wide range of adverse impacts from tourism on vegetation; air quality was affected, particularly around the ski resorts, but it was a less important issue than impacts on water, fauna, and flora. The judgments of protected area managers as to the importance of environmental issues arising from tourism use of the Australian Alps protected areas correspond well with the documented impacts in research papers and management reports.
In the past, transhumant pastoralists in the Indian Himalaya used resources available in various subsystems for their livelihoods. Recent sedentarization of a section of the transhumant pastoralist population resulted in competition with the existing sedentary population for resources in some areas. Resources such as grazing areas and forests are becoming less productive and can no longer cover growing demand (both human and livestock). In the Niti valley (Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve [NDBR] buffer zone), changes in government policies during the past 50 years have produced a land-use system that is not conducive to traditional transhumant pastoralism. The present article analyzes the impact of loss of grazing area on transhumant pastoralism, the current state of monetary return from livestock rearing, and the output–input ratio in terms of energy currencies in villages inhabited by transhumant pastoralist populations and villages now practicing sedentarized lifestyles. Although small ruminant-dominated animal husbandry is providing monetary benefits to local populations, the system is consuming more resources than it produces in terms of energy currencies. The prospects for transhumant pastoralism in the buffer zone villages of NDBR are discussed.
A typical traditional Andean land-use system was analyzed as the outcome of long-term social learning processes. From this perspective the land-use system is the result of coevolution between society and nature, representing a successive embodiment of ethical principles corresponding to different periods in history. Ethical principles, understood in this study as the main values in which social and spiritual life is rooted, emerge from and are shaped by a process of dialogue between the local worldview and external historical influences. The degree of differentiation among ethical values corresponding to different stages of local history greatly depends on the type of cognitive competence developed by members of a community. The interplay between cognitive competence and concrete social action develops through a system of rotating duties aimed at lifelong learning and development of social competence derived from the ethical principles of the Andean worldview. The equilibrium between cognitive and social competencies creates social coherence, which was and still is necessary for withstanding moments of crisis and conflict. The learning process evolve from single- to double-loop learning, meaning that an individualized understanding of the epistemological basis of ethical values becomes a clear priority. This allows time to experiment with the land-use system as part of a social learning process. The positive conditions supporting social learning processes were a nondualistic worldview, local autonomy and self-determination in social and religious–spiritual life, territorial and productive organization, low levels of formalization of norms, deliberative rather than formal democratic decision making, and a combination of increasingly reflective attitudes and development of specific social competencies among all members of the community.
This article examines local perceptions of health risks in a mountain community in the Karakoram of Northern Pakistan. Specifically, it aims to show how the tremendous social and economic transformations taking place in this region are experienced and understood by the people most affected by them. The case study draws from ethnographic data collected through a range of methods, including personal narratives, focus groups, interviews, household surveys, conversations, and participant observations. Central to this analysis is the role that social change plays in mediating and shaping residents' worries, and perceived vulnerabilities within this particular economic and cultural context. Furthermore, the effects of the global economy on how people assess their dependency on external factors and processes are explored, including attention to the ways in which newly introduced products and technologies raise concerns about product safety, health security, and community cohesiveness. This analysis of local narratives of health risks illustrates these points and demonstrates how residents' constructions of risk provide a basis for understanding local debates and doubts about how “development” and modernity are being approached in this mountainous region.
The newly formed State of Uttaranchal in India has diverse agroclimatic conditions. The region is sparsely populated, communication is difficult, and many areas are inaccessible. Natural catastrophes such as droughts and landslides are common. The region lags behind in agroindustrial development, and the level of poverty is high. Earlier studies indicate that the health of the residents in this region is generally poor. Hilly terrain imposes a heavy burden on the health of the people and aggravates the problem of undernutrition. A project was carried out between April and July 2000 to assess the state of undernutrition among indigenous people in the Garhwal Himalayas of the State of Uttaranchal. The term “indigenous” in this context refers to the native born people of the Garhwal Himalayas, also known as Garhwali. A total of 854 respondents were studied in 3 agroclimatic situations—the high hills, mid hills, and low hills, also classified by Gupta (1983) as subtropical (250–1200 m), subtemperate (1200–1700 m), and temperate (1700–3500 m)—as well as in rural and urban settings. The study revealed that over 30% of the population suffers from undernutrition, higher than the average of 20% according to Wardlaw (2000). However, gender did not appear to affect the level of undernourishment. The agroclimatic situation had the maximum negative impact on the nutritional status of the indigenous population. Rural people too were found to be more undernourished than the urban population. It may thus be concluded that the groups identified in the study, namely the people residing in the high hills and the rural population, on whom developmental activities should be focused, are relatively undernourished.
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxic chemical compounds produced by fungi infesting agricultural crops both during crop growth and storage. Such secondary metabolites, when ingested, can produce toxic syndromes in humans. This study is the first survey that documents the occurrence of mycotoxins in stored barley in Tibet Autonomous Region [P.R. China]. Twenty-five samples of barley collected from Tibet were analyzed for the presence of aflatoxins, fumonisins, ochratoxins, zearalenone, deoxynivalenol, and T-2 toxin using an easy, sensitive, competitive direct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Ninety-six percent of the samples were contaminated with zearalenone at concentrations ranging from 25 to 270 µg/kg. Seventy-six percent of the samples were contaminated with T-2 toxin at concentrations ranging from 1 to 163 µg/kg. In contrast, deoxynivalenol was observed in only 12% of the samples, with toxin concentrations ranging from 25 to 270 µg/kg. Aflatoxin was observed in only 4% of the contaminated samples.