Book that counts with the participation of three of the researchers teams of CEAB at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the declaration of Aigüestortes as National Park. Each one has elaborated a chapter dedicated to its area of specialization:
High Mountain Conservation in a Changing World
Mountains have been flagship lands of conservation around the world. Although plenty of natural resources, mountains have generally been less amenable to the settling of large human populations. Their relative societal marginal role, together with their intrinsic natural values, has facilitated the creation of nature reserves with the general goal of preserving species and natural landscapes.
Although climatic variability has long been recognized, the declaration of nature reserves was based on the assumption that things would not change significantly for many generations and thus the preserved lands will remain pristine or recover a state close to that if they had been highly modified by humans.
Now the situation has drastically changed. Currently, climate change and long-range transport of contaminants are affecting those protected areas, and thus conservation priorities may be challenged by these new pressures. National Parks and other nature reserves will have to review their foundational goals.
Beyond managing their internal problems and the pressures from their immediate natural and societal surroundings, they will have to deal with atmospheric drivers that may shift their natural systems to situations completely unexpected in the recent past. These changing conditions will overlap with parallel changes in the local and regional socio-economic context that will also be reacting to the new situation.
The larger the expected problem, the sooner the reaction should be planned. Given the global change scenarios, it is opportune to analyze the role of high-mountain nature reserves in a context of persistent change, evaluate whether there are non-sustainable goals and discuss alternative aims more in accordance to the new situation.