Book highlights diverse ecosystem of HKH regions

Mountain Studies

HAH Special Correspondent

Islamabad: A book on studies of three major mountain regions of Pakistan has been published. The book, titled: Mountain Studies Understanding and Managing  Mountains for people and Nature is an important resource book for researchers, academia, students, and environmentalists as well as the people living in the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalaya (HKH) regions.

The book contains information on geography, ecology, biodiversity, resources, the impact of climate change, and conflicts in the three mountain regions.

The HKH is one of the most diverse regions with rich ecosystems and cultural systems of the world, yet it is among the least known of the world’s mountain systems stretching over 3,500km across eight countries in High Asia and South Asia.

The book was launched at a ceremony at the Comsats University Islamabad campus on Monday that was attended by vice-chancellors, academia, students, researchers, and people from different walks of life.

The book has been published by the Karakoram International University (KIU) with the financial support of the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) under the US-Pakistan University Partnership Grants programme engaging six universities across HKH regions.

The other five institutes are the University of Baltistan, the University of Chitral, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Upper Dir, Comsats University Abbottabad, and Women University Bagh, Azad Kashmir.

The book contains 15 chapters and more than 650 references providing an invaluable resource for first-hand knowledge of mountains.

“This book will be a useful resource for teaching and learning about the mountains of Pakistan and elsewhere with similar learning objectives”, said Muhammad Zafar Khan, Associate Professor at KIU and head of the project.

He told the High Asia Herald that the KIU had invited five partner universities and other stakeholders for a scoping workshop in Gilgit, attended by the vice-chancellors and their nominees from the six partner universities, the University of Oregon alumni, Gilgit-Baltistan government officials, representatives of the US mission in Pakistan and USEFP.

This was followed by three writing workshops organised for faculty members or potential writers from the partner universities, he said. The workshops were held at the Hunza campus of KIU, Bagh, and Chitral. Resource persons from the University of Oregon, and the KIU facilitated sessions on academic and scientific writing.

The participating faculty members were paired in writing circles, for contributing chapters to the book. Hence a course was developed on mountain studies. At the same time a resource book was prepared with contributions from 62 authors, he added.

According to Professor Khan, the book covers the latest knowledge pertaining to mountains and their geography, geology, glaciers, wildlife, fauna, flora, and natural resources.

The book also highlights the threats to the unique ecosystems of HKH from climate change-induced hazards, biodiversity loss, human encroachment, and pollution.

It recommends that to reverse these challenges, it is imperative to promote knowledge and understanding about the mountains and associated resources.

Speaking on occasion, KIU VC Prof Attaullah Shah said that the project provided a wonderful opportunity for the regional universities to work together on a common goal. The book contains comprehensive knowledge about mountains and their importance to society.

He urged for more similar initiatives and shared contributions to achieving common goals.

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