Mountains of the World: A Global Priority

Posted: 14 May 2008

Author: Bruno Messerli and Jack D. Ives
Parthenon, Carnforth, 1992

£48.00 hb

This is the best overview of mountain issues currently available. It was prepared for the 5th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, at which mountains first gained prominence on the global environment and development agenda. There are over 100 contributors from around the world.

The book is divided into two sections. The first is on "the human dimension of mountain development", and considers cultural, spiritual, equity, economic, political, and security issues. The second is on "mountain ecosystems, resources and development", and considers mountain waters, energy, mining, biodiversity, nature protection, tourism and amenity migration, forests, agriculture, natural hazards, and climate change. Thus, the book covers all of the main issues, and is as close to a state-of-knowledge report as it is possible to get.

While most chapters are written by European and North American male authors, the diversity of the book is greatly enhanced by many boxes which introduce case studies from around the world. It concludes with two chapters which summarise the progress of the global political debate on mountains, and then suggest an agenda for sustainable mountain development.

When this book was presented to the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 1997, it was accompanied by a booklet summarising the key points. This booklet, and others prepared by Mountain Agenda in subsequent years for meetings of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development - on water, tourism, forests, energy and transport, and policies - are available for free download at Mountain Agenda.

Reviewer: Martin Price

Reviewer Info: Compiled by Dr Martin Price, Director of the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College, within Scotland's UHI Millennium Institute, 'creating the University of the Highlands and Islands'.