This issue contributes to assessing whether the relative disinterest of science and policy for mountainous areas reflects: (i) the marginal position of mountains and mountain communities within the society; or (ii) a lack of specific forms and dynamics of vulnerability. The articles draw on existing studies which have attempted to decipher the intricate links between marginality and vulnerability in facing natural hazards but with limited attention to mountains.
The set of papers provides a powerful testimony that vulnerability to disasters in mountain areas is first and foremost a matter of skewed development and social and economic marginalisation, as it is in many other environments. They also highlight how the particular mountain environment still matters in providing distinct and essential resources to communities for livelihoods, be it subsistence farming in Tanzania, commercial agriculture in China, cattle and sheep breeding in New Zealand, mining in Bolivia, or tourism in Europe.
The papers include:
- Rethinking risk and disasters in mountain areas
- Integrated development, risk management and community-based climate change adaptation in a mountain-plains system in Northern Tanzania
- Integrated risk governance in the Yungui Plateau, China: The 2008 ice-snow storm disaster
- Marginality, adaptation and farming in the New Zealand high country
- Designing and implementing more effective Integrated Early Warning Systems in mountain areas: a case study from Northern Italy
- Extensive and every day risk in the Bolivian Chaco: Sources of crisis and disaster
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