Global change and environmental
risks in mountain ecosystems
N. S. Jodha
Global environmental change is a major issue today. Owing to rather skewed perspectives of the work and debate on the subject (a result of overemphasis on the “systemic” type of changes as against “cumulative” changes – see chapter 1), however, the totality of the global environmental change – its processes, consequences, and possible remedial measures – are inadequately understood (table 9.1). In view of the greater certainty of issues involved and their regional disaggregation, a discussion focused on cumulative types of global change can prove very useful. Furthermore, to capture fully the cumulative type of changes, regions can be identified with ecosystems (e.g. mountain ecosystem) in the context of which nature–human interactions and their consequences can be more easily understood.
Such issues set the background for the discussion on environmental risks in mountain areas in the context of global environmental change. The emphasis is on understanding and handling environmental risks in mountains, which are affected both by specific features of mountain habitats and by the way in which imperatives of these features are ignored or considered by human interventions in mountain areas. The discussion draws heavily on earlier work related to the subject (Jodha 1990a, b, 1992b; Jodha, Banskota, and Partap 1992).