Regional Report on Sustainable Mountain Development 


In preparation for the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012, AIMF and the Telluride Institute joined together to coordinate the preparation of a report entitled Sustainable Mountain Development in North America to have our regional issues and views represented and included in materials presented at the Summit. 

It’s been more than 20 years since the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. That conference put mountains on the global environmental and development map by introducing a specific chapter—Chapter 13—on mountains as fragile ecosystems in Agenda 21. Since the adoption of Chapter 13, many initiatives have taken place at the local, regional, national, and global levels to promote sustainable mountain development. On June 20-22, 2012, world leaders and policy makers; international and national NGOs and foundations; and other public sector and private organizations reconvened in Rio for the Rio+20 Earth Summit to secure renewed global commitment for sustainable development; assess the progress and gaps in implementing the commitments made in 1992; and address new and emerging challenges.

In putting together the report we have  attempted to collect data  and submissions from organizations working in the following mountain ranges:

  • Alaska Range
  • Appalachian Mountains
  • Cascade Mountains
  • Laurentians
  • Pacific Coast Range (US and Canada)
  • Rocky Mountains (US and Canada)
  • Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Sierra Madre Mountains

The report has three distinct sections:

(1)  a descriptive overview of mountains in North America

(2)  a discussion of three thematic issues

a. physical characteristics; such as soils, glaciers, water, energy exploration, mining extraction

b. biological/ecosystem issues; such as conservation/protected areas, encroachment/wildland urban interface, climate change, biodiversity, habitat

c. human/mountain interactions; such as poverty/wealth discrepancies, recreation/ecotourism, mountain events, agriculture, education, health/sustainability of human communities

(3)  brief descriptions of institutional/organizational initiatives focused on sustainable mountain development over the last 20 years; summarizing the experiences, achievements, and lessons learned. 

It is our hope that this report  will help inform and guide discussions and policy decisions dealing with mountain sustainable development in the North American region over the next decades. 

Rebecca Wallace of AIMF is the project lead for this effort.  You may contact her at: