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Fecha:Sabado, 31 de Mayo, 2003  13:23:58 (-0300)
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CeHuNews 117/03


Volume 16, Number 1 February 1996


Published by the University of California Press for the International Mountain Society and United Nations University.

With support from:

  • Division of Environmental Studies, University of California, Davis, USA
  • Geographical Institute, University of Berne, Switzerland
  • Commission on Mountain Geoecology, International Geographical Union
  • Unesco: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Vergleichende Hochgebirgsforschung, Munich, Germany

Nature Conservation, Traditional Living Space, or Tourist Attraction? The Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria
Christoph Stadel, Heinz Slupetzky, and Harald Kremser 1-16

Resource Use and Environmental Stress in the Central European Mittelgebirge
Jorg Stadelbauer 17 - 25

Landscape Damage by Skiing at Schauinsland in the Black Forest, Germany
Johannes B. Ries 27 - 40

The Decline of Ethnodiversity in High Mountain Regions: the Rhaetoromansch Minority in Grisons, Switzerland
Frauke Kraas 41- 50

The Physical Climatology of Alpine Tundra, Scout Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
I. R. Saunders and W. G. Bailey 51-64

Climate of the Summit Region of Mount Kinabalu (Borneo) in 1992, an El Niño Year
Kanehiro Kitayama 65 - 75


The 1994 Lugge Tsho Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, Bhutan Himalaya
Teiji Watanabe and Daniel Rothacher 77-81



Vol. 16:1, pp. 1-16
Nature Conservation, Traditional Living Space, or Tourist Attraction? The Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria


By international standards, national parks are natural areas where ecosystems, for the most part, have not been substantially modified by human activity, and which have been set aside to protect and preserve the features of the landscape. In Austria the Hohe Tauern National Park represents a high mountain area which combines a diversified alpine landscape and ecosystem with the century-old traditions of local population.

Based on initiatives beginning in 1971 to establish the Hohe Tauern National Park, between 1983 and 1991 the Lander of Carinthia, Salzburg, and Tyrol worked together and gradually enlarged the Park to a non-contiguous area of 1,800 km2 which includes a total of 29 communities. In an attempt to conserve nature, preserve traditional living space, and promote tourism, the National Park area was subdivided into a high alpine core zone of largely unspoiled nature and an outer zone which includes landscapes modified by human impact. Zoning has been introduced to foster interrelationships and interaction between wilderness areas and adjacent semi natural cultural landscapes.

The fifteen-year old history of the Park has been marked by a series of diverse goals and potential land-use conflicts which required the active involvement of the local population into the planning process of the National Park. This partnership approach, which resulted in a so-called 'eco-realism' compromise, has reversed the initial widespread rejection of the park concept and won the approval of the local population.

Vol. 16:1, pp. 17-25
Resource Use and Environmental Stress in the Central European Mittelgebirge
JORG STADELBAUER, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Institut für Kulturgeographie


The Black Forest is a typical low-range mountain region (Mittelgebirge) in Central Europe. It serves as an example for discussion focusing on the relationship of historical evaluation of natural resources, development of settlement patterns, and sustainable economic processes in mountains. The theoretical framework is described in terms of sustainable development, accessibility, and vulnerability. Examples of resource use during different historical stages are chosen to illustrate the development of the present-day cultural landscape and to indicate the multiple adaptations of the region to external challenges. The choice of representative locations relates to the itinerary of an excursion led by the author in conjunction with the IGU symposium "Mountain Geoecology and Sustainable Development" in August 1994.

Vol. 16:1, pp. 27-40.
Landscape Damage by Skiing at Schauinsland in the Black Forest, Germany
JOHANNES B. RIES, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Institut für Physische Geographic


The development of ski-runs and lifts for downhill skiing in the Black Forest has led to extensive damage. Vegetation cover and topsoil have been lost, resulting in soil erosion and extended needle-ice solifluction. The mapping of damage in skiing areas, primarily applied in alpine regions, is now being undertaken in lower mountain areas; it indicates the relationships between types of damage, frequency, distribution, location, aspect, and relief.

The analysis of the snow-cover conditions at the Schauinsland between the winters of 1976/77 and 1993/94 shows an exceptional variability in snow depth as well as duration of snow cover. Classification of the damage on test plots for the period 1985/86 indicates that graded areas, used as pastures, are extremely susceptible to geomorphological processes, especially erosion and solifluction, and that consequential damage is very likely. It is possible to quantify the erosion and accumulation rates during the summer by simple measurements.

The results of the study at Schauinsland reveal different parameters with which to evaluate recent geomorpho-dynamic processes. These can be used to develop a program for ski-tourism that will result in less damage and will allow damaged areas to regenerate.

Vol. 16:1, pp. 41-50
The Decline of Ethnodiversity in High Mountain Regions: the Rhaetoromansch Minority in Grisons, Switzerland
FRAUKE KRAAS, Department of Geography, University of Bonn


Worldwide, high mountains are characterized by great ethnic, linguistic, socio-cultural, and sometimes also religious variety. Thus, they figure among the last enclaves of traditionally ethno-linguistic diversity.

The example of the Rhaetoromansch people in Grisons (Graubünden) is used to identify the different phases of the territorial retreat as well as its causes. The area currently occupied is a remnant of a long process of constriction as the Rhaetoromansch language has been increasingly submerged by the linguistic transition to German or Italian. The effects of economic development and improved communication facilities have accelerated the peripheralization process. The population is divided into five main idioms and fragmented further by religion; it is unevenly distributed within the canton, and mostly demographically aging. The imbalance of the occupation and employment structure encourages emigration, especially of well-qualified people.

The need for further studies on ethno-linguistic groups and minorities in high mountain areas is indicated and comparative research on ethno-diversity is urgently needed to make recommendations for the stabilization and survival of a diversity of ethno linguistic populations.

Vol. 16:1, pp. 51-64
The Physical Climatology of Alpine Tundra, Scout Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
I. R. SAUNDERS AND W. G. BAILEY, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University


Eleven months of radiation budget measurements from an alpine tundra site in southern British Columbia encapsulated a wide range of atmospheric and surface conditions and provide insights into the controlling factors affecting energy and mass exchanges in the high mountain environment. The seasonal snow cover exerts a strong surface control on energy exchange, the high albedo suppressing solar radiation absorption and the cold surface temperatures limiting net long wave radiation losses. Turbulent energy fluxes during winter were very small and driven by the negative net radiation. The very thin snowpack that persisted throughout the winter meant that energy storage changes within the snow were negligible and the snowmelt period was very brief.

When the tundra is snow-free, cloud cover is the most important determinant of the radiation budget through its influence on atmospheric transmissivity and long wave radiation fluxes. Local orographic cloud development provided an important negative feedback which countered the large solar irradiances that would otherwise be expected in high mountains during the summer.

Both energy- and moisture-limiting evapotranspiration regimes occurred during both field seasons, governed largely by the frequency, rather than the magnitude, of precipitation events. In the absence of precipitation, the tundra desiccated rapidly due to the efficient drainage, limited soil moisture storage capacity, and the presence of quick-drying rock surfaces. Surface resistance measurements demonstrated the lack of efficiency in the transfer of subsurface moisture to the atmosphere during dry periods, and show that the change from a wet-surface evaporative regime to a dry-surface one is achieved very quickly.

Vol. 16:1, pp. 65-75
Climate of the Summit Region of Mount Kinabalu (Borneo) in 1992, an El Niño Year
KANEHIRO KITAYAMA, The Japanese Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute


An extensive El Niño, which normally causes droughts on the western side of the tropical Pacific basin, occurred from the spring of 1991 to May 1992. Measurements were taken of climatic variables associated with this irregular but reoccurring event in a high-altitude environment at 3,780 m near the upper timberline on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo, for one year in 1992. These included temperature above and below ground, vapor pressure, global radiation, photosynthetically active radiation, and rainfall. Mean monthly air temperatures at 1.5 m ranged from 6.6 (October) to 9.7°C (March) with an annual mean of 8.1°C. Relatively dry periods with monthly rainfall less than 100 mm occurred from January to April and in August. Total rainfall for the year was 2,418 mm. Monthly rainfall minus potential evapotranspiration indicated net negative water budgets in the dry periods for all albedo values (0.1-0.5) which were used in the calculation. Associated with these droughts were freezing ground-air temperatures and an extremely high soil temperature. It is inferred that the marked aridity resulted from the occurrence of air subsidence which adiabatically becomes dry and isolates the summit from uplifting moist air. However, the mechanisms causing putative subsidence remain unknown and I cannot conclude if the 1992 drought on Mount Kinabalu is attributable to the El Niño only. Nevertheless, this study suggests the possibility of extensive water stress to plants in the summit region. Small-sized leaves and sclerophylly, which characterize the site, appear to be morphological adaptations primarily to such water stress.