New Zealander Rodney Garrard is working on an interesting research project at the University of Berne. It explores global change impacts on mountain society and land use, using Sagarmatha NP as a case study. socialtours is supporting this PhD Research project in Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park.
Among environmental changes in mountain regions, the rapid melting of mountain glaciers deserves particular attention, because it is closely connected to the availability of water and the destabilisation of slopes that were formerly underlain by permafrost, but now are mobilised and therefore pose a latent threat to mountain communities and tourist activities. Increasing environmental hazards, and the growing extent of natural disasters are additional side-effects of global change which particularly affect mountain areas. These problems assume even more significant proportions to mountain communities in developing countries like Nepal, which exhibit lower levels of social, economic, and infrastructure amenities.
Thus, the primary aim of his research is to assess the vulnerability of the Sherpa People and their mountain environment in SNP with respect to global environmental change. Because vulnerability is a function of potential impacts and adaptive capacity to global change, an additional goal of Rodney’s research is to utilise the research findings to generate a portfolio of anticipatory adaptation strategies, specific to the SNP, capable of informing affected stakeholders of the scenarios for different management trajectories in the face of global change
This research links with the Global Alpine Conservation Partnership (ACP) thereby adding to the existing case studies of Mt PAs, describing commonalities, uniqueness, and lessons that can be transferred as part of the ACP, which is crucial for achieving long-term sustainability of such regions. ACP is a joint venture between The Mountain Institute and The American Alpine Club, under the leadership of Alton Byers, who is co-supervisor of the research.
Rodney welcomes questions or comments at www.garrard.co.nz.