Mountains are Crucial among Earth Ecosystems

Mountains are essential for life on earth as it is known. Their greatest contribution is the moisture they trap, through weather and snow fall.  The amount of snow held on slopes and glaciers determines how much water or drought a region far below, even thousands of miles away, will have for food production, drinking water and more.  Mountains also play a critical role in weather, of course. Weather and specific ecosystems affect trees and forests, which are often harvested by people, and support diverse wildlife support.  Animals and plants, of course, being dependent upon water resources create the possibility of all life through biodiversity.  Mountains do not stop there, however. The plants, trees, forests and animals are critical to retain soil, filter and clean air and water and to provide vast resources to all.

For more than half of the earth’s human population, mountains provide the weather and precipitation for agriculture and stored water resources of every kind. They also are the means by which mountain rivers and streams, usually as glacial melt off, provide harnessed hydroelectric power with dams and generators, windmills, and more.  In Nepal for example, water wheels number upwards of more than 20,000.  Most  of these, in addition to renewable and clean micro-turbines provide ample power for the populace below the mountains. The water wheels, and mills alone, have been operating for hundreds of years to provide reliable power.

Mountains provide the forests that also yield wild and some partially domesticated food crops, such as potatoes and other tubers.  The potato, a rich source of food evolved in the Andes, is widely used across the world as a very crucial and renewable food base. This is just one of the many thousands of foods based on a mountain climate.

Mountains, beyond the resources they provide also allow for supporting human populations. There are still some remote mountain villages left, and much concern for their disappearing ways of life. There are also aspects such as the renown beauty and tourist attractions of mountains.  They provide a valuable economy base in places like Tibet, Nepal, the Andes, The national parks in the Canada and United States are extremely important, both to winter sports fans, scientists, hikers and naturalists, to name just a few.

In a few places, such as Hawaii and Iceland, clean renewable energy sources are abundant with the ever developing use of geothermal heat.  Also, in Hawaii the two tallest mountains on the Big Island provide extremely important scientific data due to their high elevation.  Mauna Loa has been tracking the increase of CO2, and thereby keeping data on global temperature increase for decades. Mauna Kea, is the home of the world’s clearest, and highest, international endeavors in astronomy. Several telescopes, of many amplified senses, track the heavens from this remote mountain peak.  These allow scientists to increase all sense data,  through infra-red and more .Mauna Kea allows  advanced scopes of many kinds to hear, see, measure temperatures and find colors and other variations even into the remotest regions of our universe.

This, and so much more, even as inspiration for art, music, song and dance are all provided to earth organisms through the beauty and diversity of mountains.