In 2000, the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) was proposed jointly by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP), and the Global Terrestrial Observation System (GTOS) to “achieve an integrated approach for observing, modeling and investigating Global Change phenomena and processes in mountain regions, including the impacts of these changes and of human activities on mountain ecosystems” (UN Assembly 2000: 8)

Subsequently, numerous programmes and other contributory efforts began, including:

  • The Symposium on Climate Sciences of the North and South American Cordillera (CONCORD), and the subsequent American Cordillera Transect (ACT)
  • Collaborations between the MRI and the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme on mountain biosphere reserves
  • MRI-convened workshops on Mountain Observatories in Reno, USA (2014) and Crested Butte, USA (2015), among others
  • Work on Elevation Dependent Warming (2012), beginning with a workshop in Payerbach, Austria (2014) and many subsequent events
  • The Global Network of Mountain Observatories (GNOMO) (2015)
  • MRI Working Groups on Elevation Dependent Climate Change and Mountain Observatories (since 2018)
  • Plus many, many others!

To acknowledge, integrate, and build on the considerable legacy of these past community efforts, GEO Members voted to accept GEO-GNOME (now GEO Mountains) into the GEO Work Programme as a GEO Initiative at the GEO Plenary 2016. GEO Mountains launched as a Flagship Activity of the MRI shortly thereafter.

In May 2018, GEO Mountains held a workshop to reorganise and reformulate objectives and tasks. The outcomes were presented by Adler et al. (2018).

Following the appointment of Dr. James Thornton as GEO Mountains Scientific Project Officer in June 2020, the Implementation Plan has been revised further. 

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