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This study investigates the role that local fruit varieties can play in achieving the dual objectives of food sovereignty and income generation in the Tajik Pamir Mountains. In this very harsh environment, agriculture is characterized by a great diversity of fruit varieties central to local food culture and household security. Local fruit trees can grow in poor soils on slopes and their resistance to diseases, cold, and ultraviolet light give them marked advantages over introduced varieties. However, the humanitarian crisis following the collapse of the Soviet Union and recent efforts by development organizations to create markets by introducing exotic varieties are negatively affecting agricultural biodiversity (agrobiodiversity) and, potentially, household security. A study was carried out in 3 districts of the Gorno-Badakhshan province to investigate the household consumption and market potential of products derived from local varieties of apple, apricot, and mulberry and how these products could be better exploited to benefit community livelihoods and agrobiodiversity conservation. Results show that fruit represents the farmers' main source of food and income. Many local varieties are maintained for a variety of reasons related to household consumption, whereas the main reason for cultivating introduced varieties is income generation. Great care must therefore be taken in planning market strategies: a pure market focus will almost certainly endanger household security, whereas a strategy linking income generation through the commercialization of crop varieties to the promotion of qualities central to household needs will improve diversity and public health. The opportunities identified to help enhance the market potential of local fruits and maintain the Pamir's unique biocultural heritage include efforts to raise public awareness among producers and consumers of the nutritional and medicinal properties of local varieties; training for pest management, processing, and packaging; and the establishment of farmers' cooperatives.
This paper analyzes 35 oral testimonies that were collected in Shimshal through a Panos oral testimony project. The project's goal was to record villagers' perspectives on social change in the community. The link road, which would eventually connect Shimshal to the Karakoram Highway and down-country Pakistan, features prominently as an important vector of sociocultural transformation, despite being 2 years from completion at the time of the interviews. Our analysis delineates 10 narratives that reveal the public discourses that structure Shimshalis' understanding of the road's emerging effects. These narratives contribute to development research and practice related to rural road construction by documenting local representations of the lived experience of a new road and its social and developmental effects, a neglected but vital structuring element of material outcomes. They also constitute an important starting point for tracing shifts in road-related public discourse, as accessibility becomes an increasingly accustomed aspect of everyday life in Shimshal.
This study examines the practice of lopping of Quercus leucotrichophora A. Camus and Quercus floribunda Lindley ex Rehder in Garhwal Himalaya. The study objectives were to investigate the lopping process, the factors that influence it, and the changes it has undergone between 1993 and 2006, specifically, age and gender roles, method of fodder collection, type of branches and trees lopped, and weight of oak foliage bundles. Data were collected for 49 fodder collection trips in Beli village, Tehri Garhwal District, Garhwal Division. Four closely interlinked factors influenced forest use—gender roles, availability of oak foliage in the forest, number and type of livestock per household, and type of agricultural crops planted. The results indicate that lopping practice is not static. It has undergone fundamental changes between 1993 and 2006. Beli villagers continued to collect fodder basis, varied the fodder species collected, and rotated the location of trees lopped throughout the year in 2006, as they did in 1993. Foliage collection intensified until early 2000 when there was a marked decrease in the amount of foliage available in the forest. As a result, the villagers began to reduce their total reliance on the forest and agriculture for income and instead began to send their children to school in preparation for employment outside the village. This change in livelihood strategy is reflected in the lopping practice. Fodder collection trips decreased from 5 in 1993 to 3 times a day in 2006. The number of people collecting Q. floribunda decreased from 26 to 12, with fodder being collected mainly by women aged 21 to 26. This has resulted in females carrying significantly greater loads in 2006 (P = 0.0004). Examining the lopping practice provides insights into the impact of fodder collection on forest ecosystems and, in turn, the forest's impact on peoples' lives.
Although the southeastern Tibetan Plateau has one of the world's highest natural treelines, little is known about its microclimatic conditions. In order to characterize microclimatic conditions for natural Blackseed juniper (Juniperus saltuaria [Rehd & Wils], syn: Sabina saltuaria) treeline (4390 masl) in the Sygera (Sergyemla) Mountains, southeastern Tibetan Plateau, an in situ field measurement based on an automatic weather station (AWS) has been running since November 2006. The annual mean air temperature ranged from 0 to 0.8°C from 2007–2009. The mean air temperature for the warmest month (July) was 7.9 ± 0.5°C, while mean air temperatures during the growing season were 6.8 ± 0.3°C (Index 1) and 6.2 ± 0.2°C (Index 2, corresponding to the global scale), based on a definition of the growing season according to a daily mean air temperature of >5°C and soil temperature at 10 cm depth >3.2°C. However, the mean soil temperature at a depth of 10 cm during the growing season (8.0 ± 0.2°C) was higher than that measured for the global treelines. The juniper treeline is characterized by a humid microclimate, as shown by the mean daily relative humidity of 76.4%, annual total precipitation of 871.3 mm, and mean soil volumetric moisture content of 35.5% during periods when the soil is not frozen. The annual mean wind speed was 0.9 ± 0.1 m/s. Uninterrupted in situ micrometeorological field measurements for alpine treelines should be the next step to achieve a better understanding of treeline ecological conditions and treeline formation on the Tibetan Plateau.
In response to the devastating earthquake that hit northern Pakistan on 8 October 2005, the German Red Cross (GRC), in partnership with the Economic Security Unit of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), implemented a complex livestock restocking program combined with structural interventions in the basic animal health sector. Livestock restocking, which was a new experience for both GRC and ICRC, indicates a shift from the relief operations that are traditionally the main domain of both organizations toward development approaches that aim to provide sustainable support for affected populations. The project activities are an example of an agency's move to facilitate a transition from relief measures to lasting development, with the aim of reducing the frequency, intensity, and impact of livelihood shocks, while simultaneously reducing the need for emergency relief. The question remains whether the project's rehabilitation efforts succeeded in connecting the end of relief with the establishment of sustainability in the livestock sector, including the support of local livestock production, processing, and marketing systems. Overall, the livestock intervention project helped restore rural livelihoods in a remote mountain area and heightened coping capacities in households that succeeded in making productive and sustainable use of the animals.
With its mandate to work on natural resource management; food security; and livelihoods; and its attention to the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has played a leading role in sustainable mountain development for many years. In 1992, the FAO was appointed Task Manager for Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 (Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development) and acted as the lead agency for the International Year of Mountains in 2002. The FAO hosts the global Secretariat of the Mountain Partnership and, from 2003 onward, has also been mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to lead observance of the International Mountain Day, every year on 11 December. Over time, the FAO has progressively built up a conceptual and operational framework that links sustainable mountain development to forest hydrology and watershed and risk management. This Platform Statement provides an update on the FAO's regular program on sustainable mountain development, watershed management, and forest hydrology, which includes normative work, a strong field program, and support to international processes. Further, it summarizes the latest achievements of the Mountain Partnership.
Mountain regions provide a multitude of goods and services for much of humanity (Price and Butt 2000; Becker and Bugmann 2001), especially in the realms of water supply, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services (Schimel et al 2002; Körner et al 2005; Viviroli et al 2007; Viviroli et al 2011). However, the future ability of mountain regions to provide goods and services to both highland and lowland residents is seriously threatened by climatic changes, environmental pollution, unsustainable management of natural resources, and serious gaps in understanding of mountain systems (Huber et al 2005). Disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research is required to maintain these goods and services in the face of these forces. The global mountain research community, however, has historically operated at a suboptimal level because of insufficient communication across geographic and linguistic barriers, less than desirable coordination of research frameworks, and a lack of funding.
Geographers face choices in publishing research in outlets that affiliate them with a discipline that gauges the overall development of their academic standing by the approval of the peer-review process. It is not only actual publication that counts but also when and where an article is published. Well-published geographers often find themselves at the fuzzy boundaries of traditional disciplinary work, because often the nature of the profession tends to develop holistically, which favors new hybrid approaches, fusing techniques, sharing methodologies, and above all, creating new coupled constructions for the appropriation of concepts associated with place and space. We argue that nowhere is this more important than in mountain geography, where different sciences not only converge to analyze mountain ecosystems but also apply the subspecialties of human and physical geography for better understanding of mountain landscapes. By separating physical geography journals from human geography outlets, geographers pigeonhole professional development and favor reductionistic views of mountain functions, forms, and changes.
We also argue that the multiplicity of choices for publication of research on mountain themes has diluted the required concentration of disciplinary trends and has hindered the establishment of mountain science (ie montology) as a discipline. We use a bibliometric critique based on impact factors to determine the likelihood that junior mountain geographers will continue the trend of targeting either process-driven (traditional disciplinary), or region-driven (traditional spatial) journals, in lieu of promoting self-identification of montology through contemporary journals (postmodern, transdisciplinary) that catalyze research productivity and construct their professional self-identity as montologists, as senior mountain geographers often do.