Wildlife in the Changing Andorran Pyrenees
Project partners: Earthwatch, CREAF
In the high slopes of the Andorran Pyrenees climate change has already begun to alter the landscape. Some species are moving to higher latitudes, and some have begun to decline. The ways humans use the land also causes shifts in the natural order of things, but little research has been done on how people have impacted the mountains. Lead researcher Dr Bernat Claramunt, Principal Investigator at CREAF and Coordinator of the Network of European Mountain Research, says “…the Pyrenees in Andorra are excellent natural laboratories to understand the mechanisms of global change, because they contain some of the most sensitive and vulnerable ecosystems. They are sentinels for the changes that are happening in other mountains in Europe.”
Andorra relies on tourism as a key source of income – with millions of visitors enjoying snow in winter and verdant mountains in summer. Much of its electricity comes from water-powered hydro plants. Each of these elements – snow, mountains, water-power – are susceptible to the effects of climate change.
- Data and information from the project are helping businesses and the Government of Andorra to adapt to the new conditions created by climate change.
- Thanks to the more than 70 Earthwatch volunteers who come to Andorra each year for this project we can gather an estimated ten times (10x) the volume of data and indicators, compared to a normal research team. This rich extra data has led to more than 70 publications in academic journals.
- Our Andorra volunteer expeditions have a direct financial impact in Andorra, spending more than US$75,000 in the local economy.
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