The Ecological Importance of Mountains

Mountains play a vital role in the subsistence of organisms including man, animal and plants.  There are mountains in a chain called ranges that are thickly forested and serve as a sanctuary for a diverse variety of living organisms.  The organisms are often inter-dependent on each other for their subsistence.  That is the ecological importance of mountains to living things.  Trees and vegetation growth provide shelter and food for many species. 

Another role mountains play is that it serves as protection from harsh weather conditions or winds of gale force.  During heavy rains or snowstorm, the gullies serve as drainage that make water flow to lower areas surrounding it that irrigates vegetation.  With the flow of water, many minerals go along with it that helpsimprove growth of plants.  The rivers or streams help also keep constant supply of fresh water to lakes and other inland bodies of water. The flow alone of water from the mountains thus shows its ecological importance to virtually all its inhabitants and those in the plains or flat lands.  That is not to mention fresh water creatures.

Bio-diversity in mountains that are forested and untouched by man is one of nature’s ways in providing balance on the earth’s atmosphere. Mountains are the “shock-absorbers” of pollution created by man while it sustains life within its forests.  The ecological importance of mountains encompasses all organisms within its vicinity and even far reaching to the seas and oceans.  Most rivers that originate from mountains empty into oceans and seas.  Even volcanic mountains provide or contribute to the balance of nature.

Changes in the environment in populated areas can actually be neutralized by nearby mountains that have bio-diversity.  This means that mountains that have been mined or deforested near urban areas could no longer have any ecological importance to nature.  Deforested mountains can no longer sustain life for most of the organisms that once inhabited them.

A significant ecological importance of mountains that are thickly forested is being a source of extracts that are often discovered to produce substances used for medical purposes.  An example will be the sera or anti-venom that can be extracted from snakes that are life saving.  The same could be said for plant extracts found only in the wild that can be used to treat diseases. 

Whatever can be taken in minute quantities from preserved mountains proves their ecological importance globally.  The distance of virgin mountains does not matter because the benefit it provides to nature does not stay only within its confines.  As long as mountains maintain their natural resources, it will be able to sustain life and even save lives with the proper preservation of its natural habitat.