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Mountain Watch: How LT(S)ER Is Safeguarding Southern Africa’s People and Biodiversity for a Sustainable Mountain Future

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Scientific Services, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, P.O. Box 13053, Cascades 3202, South Africa
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School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
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South African Environmental Observation Network, Ndlovu Node, Scientific Services, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X1021, Phalaborwa 1390, South Africa
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School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Private Bag X03, Wits 2050, South Africa
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rob Marchant and Aida Cuni-Sanchez
Land 2021, 10(10), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101024
Received: 6 August 2021 / Revised: 21 September 2021 / Accepted: 26 September 2021 / Published: 30 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
Southern Africa is an exceptionally diverse region with an ancient geologic and climatic history. Its mountains are located in the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes at a tropical–temperate interface, offering a rare opportunity to contextualise and frame our research from an austral perspective to balance the global narrative around sustainable mountain futures for people and biodiversity. Limited Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) was initiated more than a century ago in South Africa to optimise catchment management through sound water policy. The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) has resurrected many government LTER programmes and added observatories representative of the country’s heterogeneous zonobiomes, including its mountain regions. LTER in other Southern African mountains is largely absent. The current rollout of the Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network (EFTEON) and the Southern African chapters of international programmes such as the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA), RangeX, and the Global Soil Biodiversity Observation Network (Soil BON), as well as the expansion of the Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN), is ushering in a renaissance period of global change research in the region, which takes greater cognisance of its social context. This diversity of initiatives will generate a more robust knowledge base from which to draw conclusions about how to better safeguard the well-being of people and biodiversity in the region and help balance livelihoods and environmental sustainability in our complex, third-world socio-ecological mountain systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: alpine and montane ecosystems; austral perspective; environmental sustainability; global change; long-term research; mountain observatories; multi-disciplinary research; social context; socio-ecological coupling; Southern Africa alpine and montane ecosystems; austral perspective; environmental sustainability; global change; long-term research; mountain observatories; multi-disciplinary research; social context; socio-ecological coupling; Southern Africa
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carbutt, C.; Thompson, D.I. Mountain Watch: How LT(S)ER Is Safeguarding Southern Africa’s People and Biodiversity for a Sustainable Mountain Future. Land 2021, 10, 1024. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101024

AMA Style

Carbutt C, Thompson DI. Mountain Watch: How LT(S)ER Is Safeguarding Southern Africa’s People and Biodiversity for a Sustainable Mountain Future. Land. 2021; 10(10):1024. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101024

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carbutt, Clinton, and Dave I. Thompson 2021. "Mountain Watch: How LT(S)ER Is Safeguarding Southern Africa’s People and Biodiversity for a Sustainable Mountain Future" Land 10, no. 10: 1024. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101024

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