The 2017 Pathways Conference took place 17-20 September in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, USA. Its theme was FUTURES, addressing the myriad of issues that arise as people and wildlife struggle to coexist in a sustainable and healthy manner.
The attractions of Japan’s Southern Alps include dense evergreen coniferous forests and alpine meadows full of blooming globeflowers (or Trollius japonicus). These areas have been likened to an earthly paradise. In recent years however, sika deer have moved into this alpine zone. With them grazing on the rare plant community there is a danger that these alpine meadows, a symbol of the rich mountain environment, will disappear. Meadows vanish A questionnaire survey conducted in 1984 found that there were virtually no sika deer breeding in the northern part of the Southern Alps. Then, in the 1990s the sika deer quietly began to use the evergreen coniferous forests of Veitch’s silver fir and Maries fir in the subalpine zone, as well as the Erman’s birch forests and herbaceous communities. By the early 2000s the sika deer had encroached further into the subalpine zone and settled there, and within around ten years the colourful alpine meadows had disappeared. Previously, it was generally considered that the alpine environment, with its many steep slopes, was too harsh an environment for the sika deer to breed in. However, the hooves of sika deer living on these steep slopes have worn down, and are now like […]
On her desk, Gunjan Silwal is engrossed in her computer, analyzing glacier mass balance data, working on figures and graphs which to the untrained eye look rather like scribblings on a toddler’s drawing book. To the trained eye, however, these are essential records of how much mass has been added or lost over the years on Yala glacier. The one she is working on is for the annual mass balance of the glacier from 2014 to 2015. When Gunjan is finally done with her analysis, she will begin to prepare for yet another field expedition to the glacier. Come April, Gunjan and her peers will head up to Yala glacier to collect spring data. Gunjan, 29, joined the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)’s Cryosphere Initiative in 2016 as a research associate. She has spent a substantial amount of her time on the glacier – often doing strenuous manual work such as installing and measuring stakes for mass balance monitoring, installing temperature loggers for permafrost studies, and measuring the discharge of glacier meltwater streams to better understand how glaciers in the Nepal Himalaya are responding to global climate change. “Water is one of the main sources of livelihood in […]