Lay summary
The Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) Coordination Office is a scientific infrastructure project that promotes and coordinates research on global change in mountain regions. Mountain regions are extremely important to humanity. Half of humanity depends on resources from mountain regions. Outside of the tropics, mountain regions provide 40% of all the freshwater, and in arid and semi-arid regions, this fraction approaches 70-100%. Mountains contain one half of the planet's biodiversity hot spots. Mountain forests and soils are among the major terrestrial carbon pools. Mountain ecosystems are sensitive to change, from climate change to inappropriate management practices. The future ability of mountain regions to provide their many goods and services to highland and lowland residents is seriously threatened by climatic change, pollution, unsustainable management and serious gaps in understanding of mountain systems. MRI fills these gaps in understanding. It works on the four "I's" : initiation, implementation, integration, and information. Initiation focuses on the formation of networks of researchers so that they can better develop interdisciplinary research. Implementation involves support to these networks and maintenance of global change in mountain regions as a key topic. Integration focuses on the synthesis of research results and leads to the publication of new knowledge. Information means the translation of research results into guidance useful for policy makers and practitioners. During the 2010-2013 period MRI will:oconduct three Synthesis Workshops to integrate research results; ogenerate information products from past research useful to practitioners working on sustainable development in mountain regions in Europe via Mountain.TRIP (an FP7 Support Action);oconduct Key Contacts workshops at major international scientific meetings to promote interdisciplinary collaboration;oestablish a Global Commission composed of active and senior researchers from all mountain regions of the world to provide strategic oversight;oinitiate a campaign to shape scientific contributions to the Rio+20 Conference of the United Nation's Commission on Sustainable Development;oengage regional research coordinators for initiation and implementation in Latin America, Africa and Central Asia using third-party funding, while continuing to collaborate with the Austrian Academy of Science on MRI Europe; andoenhance its communication channels and products to promote initiation, describe implementation, integrate results and distribute information, by initiating a true on-line social network of global change researchers in mountain regions.