Fold mountains

Mountains: crucial ecosystems for wildlife and humanity

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency

Mountain ecosystems, which are home to unique habitats, endemic wildlife species and also play a crucial role in human life, are subject to a number of threats.


In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly designated December 11 as “International Mountain Day” to encourage the international community to organize events to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.

“The distribution of mountains on Earth, in which 90% of them remain along linear lines, demonstrates that mountains are not a form of land that happened randomly,” Anadolu Agency told Anadolu Agency. Abdurrahman Dokuz, a geology expert at the Turkish University of Gümüşhane.

Defining mountains as areas of land with high and sloping topography relative to the areas around them, Dokuz said the four main types of mountains are folded or complex, block faulting, volcanic and warped.

“Folded Mountains, also known as Compressive Mountain Belts, rise along the boundaries of the approaching continental lithosphere plates…Alpine-Himalayan Belt, Ural Mountains, Appalachians and the Caledonites are the finest examples,” he added. noted.

As for the fault block mountains, Dokuz said that they develop along the plate boundary, and since the continental lithosphere plate has attempted to expand along these lines, it is ultimately split in two.


Volcanic mountains are mountains that develop due to volcanism, which is an earth phenomenon that occurs when molten rock material reaches the earth in the form of lava or superheated rock particles,” he said. declared.

He said the Hawaiian Islands are examples of volcanic mountains extending linearly across the oceanic crust, while the Ararat, Argaeus, Hasandag and Nemrut ve Suphan mountains are examples of individual volcanic mountains in Turkey, and under the national park. of Yellowstone in the United States is a “supervolcano”. with a caldera or large volcanic crater about 60 kilometers (37 miles) in diameter.

Addressing the latter type, he stated that deformed mountains develop independently of plate boundaries and are the hilly areas that result from the erosion of highlands by valleys.

Referring to the importance of mountains as the main sources of fresh water, he said that although three quarters of the world’s surface is covered with water, only 2.5% of the water reserve is fresh water, which exists mainly in the polar regions and in the form of glaciers. on the mountains near the pole.

“Compared to coastal areas, the temperature is up to 20 degrees lower, which allows the snow on the peaks to melt slowly. Thus, groundwater, streams and natural springs can be fed during the dry season with little or no precipitation,” he added. .


“Mountains affect the climate, are affected by climate change”

“Mountain ecosystems that affect climate due to their characteristics, such as height, have been affected by climate as a result of global climate change,” said Ahmet Emre Kütükçü, a wildlife expert with the World Wildlife Fund ( WWF) Turkey, to Anadolu Agency. .

Stating that mountain water resources are in danger, Kütükçü noted that the most threatened species that are affected by climate change live in highlands and island ecosystems.


Mentioning that half of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots are in mountain ecosystems, he said these ecosystems are highly sensitive, have unique biodiversity and are home to large endemic species.

“Many sources of water come from mountains, because mountains contain the presence of permanent snow masses and glaciers. So, in this sense, high mountains or mountain ecosystems are very important” for human beings as well as for wild species.

Addressing the major threats that mountains face with climate change, Kütükçü noted that excessive ranching activities that cause erosion by disturbing the soil structure can be seen as one of the negative human-induced effects. .


Noting that most mining activities are carried out in mountain ecosystems, he said activities such as quarrying and gold mining were a major threat as they could affect the region’s biodiversity as well as people’s water resources.

“Road building gives people easy access to sensitive mountain ecosystems, which means more poaching, pollution and waste,” he said, referring to urbanization as another threat.

He added that poaching is another threat to mountain ecosystems, especially mammals such as wild goats, chamois and leopards, as well as wood grouse, partridges and bearded vultures living in these habitats.

“The degradation of glacial and permanent snow structure in high mountain ecosystems decreases the drought-precipitation balance and the formation of factors that negatively affect the climate increases the risk of forest fires”, he said. stated, referring to the fact that the degradation of the geological structure of the mountains affects food and water resources and, therefore, people.

He said the high mountain ecosystem consists of areas starting with a forest belt at the bottom, then an alpine belt and continuing through areas of grassland and shrubland, and at the top level there is a permanent mass of snow that contains moss and thorns.

“The distortion between these sections therefore paralyzes the whole ecosystem,” he noted.

In order to protect the mountains, he first suggested that it is necessary to draw up and implement legal regulations, and that ecological and cultural aspects should be given priority rather than financial income from mining activities and that People should be prevented from engaging in wildlife conflict activities such as poaching.

He added that promoting eco-tourism and beekeeping activities without causing people to migrate to a high ecosystem and without damaging biological diversity could also be a positive step towards mountain preservation.