Global conference in Nevada focuses on mountains
RENO, Nev. (AP) — More than 170 scientists from around the world gathered in Reno for what organizers billed as a first-of-its-kind conference to discuss global monitoring systems for mountain environments.
The four-day gathering, which ended this weekend after being hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno, also drew sociologists, political scientists, economists and anthropologists.
The conference not only focused on hydrology, climatology and ecology, but sought to make the connection between the environment, land use and social impacts in mountain environments, organizers said.
Their goal was to move toward a more comprehensive global mountain observation network by strengthening ties between existing observation systems, they say.
“The more we build systems and have meetings like this, the more we understand the social and environmental impacts in mountain systems,” said Greg Greenwood, director of the Mountain Research Initiative at the Institute of Geography in Bern, Switzerland.
Scientists from Africa, Asia, Europe, South Africa and the United States attended. They took part in field trips, workshops and roundtable discussions to compare projects, instrumentation and systems.
“This is not the first time scientists (got together) to talk about mountain observing systems, but it is new on this scale,” said Franco Biondi, geography professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The conference was organized by Switzerland’s Mountain Research Initiative, in partnership with the university.
The first snow-survey system in the world was established by University of Nevada Professor James Church on the flanks of Mount Rose near Reno in 1905. His system, which measures snowpack to determine summer water supplies, helped launch environmental monitoring on a large scale.