1.01.05 - Mountain forest management


Warren Moser, United States


Ivan Kunes, Czech Republic

Manfred Josef Lexer, Austria

About Unit

The mountain forest management unit consists of researchers working on all aspects of mountain forests.  The unit explores the structure and function of mountain forest ecosystems and the impact of management activities, aiming to find out and provide the better ways to conserve, restore and manage mountain forests based on scientific findings. The unit encourages the networking and information and experience exchange among researchers, managers, and users by supporting meetings and cooperative activities, especially international collaboration. 

State of Knowledge

Mountain forests are located on mountains usually beyond 400–500 m altitude depending on the region. Mountain forests occupy ca. one third of world natural forests. Its topographic characteristics of slopes and altitudes differentiate mountain forests from lowland forests in both structure and function as well as species composition. Mountain forests are characterized by steep environmental gradients and high seasonal climatic fluctuations, providing various habitats. Rough topography of mountain forests has limited anthropogenic activities, which enables mountain forests to be home of diverse species and wildlife refuge.

Mountain forests are one of the most susceptible areas to climate change and human exploitation in the 21st century. Global warming threatens mountain communities that are adapted to unique ecological characteristics of mountain forests of cool temperature and humid environments. Mountain forests are being converted to tea and coffee plantations in addition to being destroyed by livestock grazing and firewood collection, especially in poor regions. Mountain forests are full of resources. Mountain forests are the origin of big river systems in the world. People put a lot of efforts to find right way to manage mountain resources and landscapes sustainably, pursuing socio-economic development of mountain communities. The importance of scientific findings of montane ecosystems and forest practices that contribute to the sustainable management of mountains is increasing.