Biodiversity and climate change in the tropical Andes – Establishment of a research network to monitor its impacts and outline adaptation actions

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  • Fecha de creación febrero 2, 2021

Since mountain regions became the focus of global attention following the 1992 Earth conference in Rio de Janeiro, there has been growing recognition of the urgent demand for an international observing system for these regions because they contain unique biota, generally with restricted distributions and highly vulnerable to global environmental changes. Among all terrestrial biomes, high mountain ecosystems are exceptional in their global distribution: this biome actually occurs from tropical to polar latitudes. Their ecosystems are governed by low temperature conditions and therefore their species are expected to respond sensitively to changes in thermal climate regimes. This was the starting point of the Global Initiative for Monitoring and Research in Alpine Environments (GLORIA), which sought to establish a standardized monitoring system for the impacts of global warming on high mountain vegetation and biodiversity.

Because of the commitment and dedication of a global community of ecologists and a scientifically sound and cost-effective approach, the GLORIA Network has grown rapidly to 110 observation sites on six continents. The South American Chapter of the GLORIA Network, particularly in the Tropical Andes, is one of the primary examples of an organized approach. The development of international training workshops led to the installation of several observation sites, including in remote areas of the Andes, and a vital process of cooperation between countries and sites. These unprecedented efforts, also in developing and strengthening the capacity of a young generation of mountain ecosystem researchers, have established a solid foundation for assessing the state of Andean biodiversity in an era of accelerated climate change.