Mountain regions represent about one fourth of the earth's surface area and provide a significant share of goods and services to humanity. In this book, the authors demonstrate how alpine environments throughout the world are particularly vulnerable to global environmental change. Alpine populations will often be affected earliest and most significantly, for example through extreme weather systems, and their scope for adaptation is relatively limited. Drawing on the natural and social sciences, particularly economics, this book supplies a broad picture of the diverse issues involved. The authors show that observed changes in natural phenomena, such as acidity and fish toxicity in high altitude lakes, clearly support the thesis on ongoing global change induced by humans. They then analyse the manifold socio-economic impacts of global environmental change which are likely to be felt in various sectors and industries including tourism, insurance and water cycle management. It is shown that adaptation options though limited can be improved, such as in natural hazard management. Finally the authors evaluate the various mitigation options available for policymakers in agriculture, energy production, transport and land use planning.
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