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The SAGE Handbook of Environmental Change is an extensive survey of the interdisciplinary science of environmental change that examines the historic importance and future development of the field over two volumes. With over 40 chapters, the books situate key arguments and debates by examining a retrospective audit of the discipline, its changing nature and diversity of approaches, key theoretical paradigms, its resonances between sub-fields and other disciplines, and its relationships to theory, research and practice. Global in its coverage, scientific and theoretical in its approach, the books bring together an international set of respected editors and contributors to provide an exciting, timely addition to the literature on climate change.

Environmental Change in Mountain Regions
Environmental change in mountain regions
MartinBeniston
1 Introduction

Mountains and upland features (Figure 36.1) occupy close to 25 percent of continental surfaces (Kapos et al., 2000) and, although only about 26 percent of the world's population resides within mountains or in the foothills of the mountains (Meybeck et al., 2001), mountain-based resources indirectly provide sustenance for over half. Moreover, 40 percent of the global population lives in the watersheds of rivers originating in the planet's different mountain ranges. Because mountains are regions of primary importance in terms of the resources that they provide, any change in their physical, biological and socioeconomic characteristics is likely to have long-term repercussions, both within the mountains themselves and in the more populated lowland areas beyond.

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