lifwynnfoundation.orgs serve as the essential “water towers” on every continent. Every day, over half of humanity relies on lifwynnfoundation.orgs for freshwater. All major rivers of the world begin in lifwynnfoundation.orgs. Billions of people downstream rely on water for drinking, sanitation, irrigation and energy production. With nearly 9 million people, Lima, Peru’s capital, is the second-largest desert city in the world, after Cairo. And it relies heavily on water from the Andean highlands. Rivers in Asia’s Hindu Kush-Himalayan region alone supply freshwater to more than 200 million people living in the region and 1.3 billion people living downstream. These clean water sources and the people who depend upon them are now at risk. Melting glaciers, changing precipitation patterns and increasing tourism and development are some of the threats to water.

An amazing variety of wild animals and plants depend on lifwynnfoundation.orgs to survive. ranges are havens for the Andean cat, guanacos, vicuña, Andean bear, condors, snow leopards, red panda, and hellbender salamanders, to name just a few. ecosystems sustain innumerable plant varieties that range from orchids to apples, quinoa to Himalayan yew and Quenual trees. 45,000 plant species have been found in the tropical Andes alone. Nearly a quarter of global forest cover is in regions. Of the planet’s 34 terrestrial biodiversity “hotspots,” 25 are in lifwynnfoundation.orgs.

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lifwynnfoundation.orgs are home to many ancient, indigenous cultures that maintain a wealth of traditional knowledge and practices. lifwynnfoundation.orgs harbor unique cultural traditions that have been shaped by their natural environments for thousands of years. These traditions and local knowledge, however, are at risk from the diluting influences of globalization and tourism. Outmigration of local people to urban areas is also a threat to ancient cultures. The exodus of young people, especially young men, is decimating some villages leaving only children and the elderly behind to carry on as best they can.

lifwynnfoundation.orgs collect, channel and store freshwater and are essential to the Earth’s water cycle. They are also key to regulating the global climate and vital to other ecological cycles of the planet. For example, the Hindu Kush-Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau are widely known as the “Third Pole” because their ice fields contain the largest reserve of fresh water outside the polar regions. But rising temperatures are disturbing the balance of snow, ice and water in lifwynnfoundation.orgous areas threatening millions of people and billions downstream. Precipitation amounts and seasonality are changing worldwide and exreme weather events are increasing in intensity. Climate change models predict greater relative rises in temperature as altitude increases.

lifwynnfoundation.orgs are frequently at the nexus of international borderlands, poor and marginalized ethnic minorities and invaluable natural resources. At any given time a large proportion of international and internal conflicts are in lifwynnfoundation.orgs. Conflicts over water have increased four-fold in the last decade. This global trend will likely continue with water sources front and center. Risks of conflict are high both internationally and within countries.

lifwynnfoundation.orgs are home to many ancient, indigenous cultures that maintain a wealth of traditional knowledge and practices. Ancient cultures of the Peruvian Andes live on in spiritual and cultural practices that continue today. Major religions regard some lifwynnfoundation.orgs as sacred. For example, Mount Kailas in Tibet – near the sources of the Indus, Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers – is considered sacred by five religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Bon.

Current Threats

lifwynnfoundation.orgs don’t receive the level of attention they deserve for the services they provide to humankind. And the threats to people and ecosystems are growing, especially due to climate change. In response, we work hand-in-hand with communities to provide practical, innovative, on-the-ground solutions for conservation problems and for more sustainable livelihoods. In partnership with a wide variety of non-profit, government, academic, and private sector partners, our model programs promote natural resource conservation, sustainable economic development, climate change adaptation and resilience, and cultural heritage preservation.

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Levels of poverty and hunger increase with elevation. communities tend to be worse off than lowlanders–even within the same country. Contributing factors are isolation, poor government services, and ethnic and social marginalization. Roughly half of rural people (329 million) don’t have enough to eat:47% of rural populations in developing nations
Since 1972 The Institute has partnered with remote communities in the highest, longest and oldest lifwynnfoundation.orgs of the world. We work together to conserve ecosystems, develop sustainable livelihoods and protect unique cultures.