Sessions submitted (as of August 23rd)

S-01 (Geo-conservation, geo-park and geotourism)

Prof. Dr. Lalu Prasad Paudel, Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Dr. Kabi Raj Paudyal, Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

In recent years, geotourism has emerged as a distinctive form of nature-based tourism worldwide and is gaining increasing economic significance. Geotourism focuses primarily on valuing the beauty of the place, its geological character, and the interaction between the territory, its biodiversity, its heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Thus, geotourism can play an important role in the sustainable development of natural places. Nepal is a country represented by the highly interesting and partly unique geological situation in a large mountain chain still under construction, which leads to nature monuments of extra-ordinary beauty and high geo-didactic value. Nepal’s geological heritage can be conserved and presented as Geoparks. Geoparks and geoheritages can be integrated in normal touristic activities, e.g. trekking and museum exhibitions. Such activities would strongly contribute to the country’s economy and sustainable mountain development. We invite papers from national and international professionals, researchers, and students focusing on the following sub-themes: a. Geosite assessment and investigation, b. Geoheritages, c. Georesources, d. Geoconservation, e. Geopark initiatives, f. Geo-Museums, g. Geo-tourism education, and h. Geotourism promotion activities.

S-02 (Ensuring provision of sustainable recreational use in mountainous protected areas )

Dr. Ting Wang, Post-doc Researcher, Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Japan

Prof. Dr. Teiji Watanabe, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Japan

Abundant mountain resources provide a wide range of recreational opportunities. Nature-based recreational tourism plays an important role in accelerating local economic development in mountainous areas. However, recreational activities inevitably have a negative impact on natural resources. To ensure the sustainable provision of recreational use while conserving the precious mountain environment, vast mountainous areas around the world have been designated as protected areas for conducting systematic management. Over the past 40 years, research in the field of recreation ecology has led to the development of multiple methods for estimating, measuring, and monitoring the impacts of recreational resources. Meanwhile, informative strategies, including specific management actions for recreational resources and visitors, have been exclusively produced to improve the sustainability of recreational resources in protected areas. However, the typical characteristics of mountain areas (e.g., poor access and fragile environments) often increase the difficulty of managing recreational resources in mountainous protected areas. It is believed that advances in technologies will help solve these problems. In this session, presenters from various research disciplines such as recreation ecology, geography, tourism studies, landscape ecology, nature resource conservation, remote sensing, and community development, are invited to explore novel solutions for augmenting sustainability in recreational use in mountainous protected areas and to discuss the necessary efforts for adopting advanced technologies in future management.  

S03 (Geodiversity and connectivity in mountain rivers with high-definition surface data)

B.M. Refat Faisal, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Japan

Dr. Yuichi S. Hayakawa, Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Japan

Assessing geodiversity in mountain landscapes is a key issue in the assessment and future prediction of environmental changes in critical areas. The concept of connectivity in a watershed, including water, sediment, ecological, and anthropogenic phenomena, is a crucial factor in understanding the geodiversity not only in mountainous areas but also in downstream connected regions. Recent technical developments have enabled us to acquire high-definition earth surface data for detailed assessments of connected phenomena, such as land surface processes, subsurface structures, sub-water/aerial environments, and geo-ecological interactions. In particular, high-definition data is useful for studying landscape developments over relatively short-term periods (decadal to millennial time scales), which align with the concept of connectivity in spatial and temporal contexts. In this session, we are anticipating submissions that address the challenges related to the issues of geomorphic connectivity and geodiversity in mountain rivers and watersheds. The scope of topics is broad and encompasses theoretical works, data acquisition, pre- and post-processing, extensive data preservation and archiving, statistical analysis, physical modeling, machine learning, and numerical simulation with various sensing technologies, including laser scanning (Lidar), SfM photogrammetry, GNSS positioning, and multi/hyperspectral sensors on terrestrial (fixed or mobile), aerial (UAS or manned airborne), or satellite platforms.

S-04 (Water resources and mountain sustainability)

Prof. Dr. Dinesh Pathak, Central Department of Geology, Kirtipur Kathmandu Nepal

Dr. Bhesh Raj Thapa, Universal Engineering and Science College, Nepal

Water Resources are a vital part of mountain sustainability. Surface water and groundwater resources have been playing vital role in the physical modification of the mountainous area and the availability is key in the sustainability of the population in the area. The exploitation has been increasing gradually for use in agriculture, drinking, and other aspects. At the same time, the resources and not properly utilized, keeping in mind the present availability and future possibilities, especially in changed biophysical and climatic conditions. Nepal is rich in water resources and has unique geological and physiographical condition consisting of a larger mountainous area with rapidly changing water utilization condition that leads to serious consideration on the evaluation of present water availability and water use condition, and it is high time to plan for ensuring the future availability of water in the mountainous areas to maintain sustainability. Such an approach would highly contribute to the country’s economy and sustainable mountain development.  We invite papers from national and international professionals, researchers, and students focusing on the following sub-themes dedicated to mountain sustainability: Water resources and mountain sustainability; Groundwater assessment and exploration; Conjunctive use of water; Water and agriculture productivity; Groundwater resilience to climate change; Hydrogeochemistry; and Water resources and human development.

S-05 (Hydrology & water resources management)

Prof. Vishnu Prasad Pandey, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Mountains are headwaters that supply water to many million people across the globe. Water is a crucial part of lives and livelihood of the mountain ecosystem and society. However, changing climate is threatening water yield from mountains. Therefore, sustainable utilization and management of water resources for ensuring long-term supply of adequate quantity and quality of water remains at the center of the sustainable mountain development agenda. Furthermore, it also contributes greatly to achieving global commitments such as sustainable development goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement, among others. In this context, this proposed session aims to have four presentations focusing on various aspects of hydrology and water resources management with a specific focus on the mountain context. Expected presentation themes may include but not limited to projected climate risks to mountain hydrology, hydro-climatic extremes, characterizing water resources development and management issues, adaptation strategies to minimize potential impacts of climate risks, and potential pathways for sustainable utilization and management of water resources in mountain river systems.

S-06 (Balancing act: Promoting sustainable mountain development amidst climate change and hydrological challenges)

Dr. Suresh Baral, School of Engineering, Pokhara University, Nepal

Mountains are vital ecosystems that provide essential resources, support biodiversity, and offer unique cultural experiences to communities residing within them. However, the delicate balance of these high-altitude regions is increasingly threatened by environmental and hydrological challenges. These changes can have significant impacts on mountain ecosystems, leading to issues like melting glaciers, altered weather patterns, and shifts in biodiversity. Some of the major hydrological challenges include water scarcity, increased risk of floods, and changes in water quality. To address these pressing issues and foster sustainable mountain development, this session brings together experts, stakeholders, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and collaborate on sustainable solutions. The session encompasses topics on understanding and implications of land cover and climate change; adaptation and mitigation measures for sustainable mountain water-environment. The primary objective of the conference session is to identify and promote best practices, adaptive measures, and technologies that can help in addressing various impacts of change and hydrological challenges on mountain communities. This session is an opportunity to deepen an understanding of the complex issues facing mountain regions and collaboratively design strategies for a sustainable and harmonious future. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, we can empower mountain communities and safeguard these fragile ecosystems for generations to come.

S-07 (Mountain hazard risk and adaptations)

Dr. Motilal Ghimire, Central Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Mountain ecosystems are highly sensitive to both natural and human-induced stressors. Climate change and increasing human influence have led to rapid and unprecedented changes in these environments. Consequently, complex interactions and feedback loops occur between the atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and human society, potentially exacerbating mountain hazards. Glacial retreats, the formation of glacial lakes, permafrost degradation, extreme climate events, altered stream hydrology, hydropower projects, infrastructure development, and urbanization are all contributing to the transformation of mountain landscapes. As a result, the physical, ecological, and social systems of mountains are increasingly at risk of hydro-meteorological and geohazards, which have significant impacts on human adaptations and sustainable development. Understanding and mitigating the impacts of natural hazards on mountain communities are imperative through conducting research related to mountain hazard risk and adaptations. Among the key research areas are hazard and risk assessment and mapping, climate change impacts, early warning systems, socioeconomic vulnerability, community-based and ecosystem-based adaptations, risk-sensitive infrastructure and land use planning, governance, policy, and cross-scale interactions. Papers focusing on these research areas contribute to a comprehensive understanding of mountain hazard risks and facilitate the development of adaptive strategies that promote the well-being of mountain and downstream communities and preserve these fragile ecosystems.

S-08 (Education for sustainable mountain development (ESMD))

Prof. Dr. Kenichi Ueno, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Dr. Phanchung, UniMelb, Bhutan Himalayan Research Initiatives

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is a key program proposed by UNESCO to promote personal and societal transformation, and it is especially important not only to train the mountain people but also to foster the independency of their culture. To understand mountains as a complex system, reforms of policies in higher education are also anticipated in a framework of ESMD. The objectives of this session are to share and exchange international experiences/challenges of ongoing ESMD actions, such as collaborations among institutions, curriculum innovation, development of teaching tools/fields, the establishment of a mountain-oriented training system, community build-up, implementations in lifelong learning, etc. The contribution of local educators is also welcome to join and inspire discussions.

S-09 (Ecotourism and sustainable development)

Dr. Rajiv Dahal, Visiting Faculty at the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hospitality and Nepal Mountain Academy (NMA), Nepal

Ecotourism, a form of sustainable tourism, focuses on conserving nature, promoting local communities, and providing educational and low-impact experiences. The ecosystems of mountains and their cultural heritage make them ideal ecotourism destinations. There are, however, research gaps that need to be addressed. Firstly, understanding the potential environmental impacts of tourist activities in ecotourism destinations is crucial. Assessing threats and vulnerabilities will guide measures to protect the environment. Secondly, there is a need to conduct research in order to determine carrying capacities, optimal visitor numbers, and a suitable infrastructure for sustainable tourism in the long term. Thirdly, stakeholder perspectives and engagement must be explored. Involving local communities, government agencies, NGOs, and tourism operators in decision-making ensures their concerns are addressed. Lastly, research should focus on developing viable and sustainable approaches to ecotourism. Evaluating different models, assessing socio-economic benefits, and minimizing negative environmental effects are important. Presentations on ecotourism at this session will therefore serve as a resource for making informed decisions, developing policies, and promoting sustainable development. The research and concept papers presented in this session is expected to address these gaps. 

S-10 (Preserving biodiversity in mountain ecosystems: Challenges and solutions)

Dr. Atuypelye Komba, School of Earth Science, Real Estate, Business, and Informatic, Ardhi University, Tanzania

Mountains are not only breathtaking landscapes but also crucial hubs of biodiversity, harboring unique and often endemic species that play vital roles in ecological balance and ecosystem services. However, these extraordinary ecosystems face escalating threats due to climate change, habitat loss, and human activities. This session aims to shed light on the current state of mountain biodiversity and explore innovative conservation technologies and strategies to safeguard these precious habitats. Suggested topics -not limited to- for submissions are: Understanding Mountain Biodiversity:  Focuses on highlighting the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in mountain ecosystems; Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: The consequences of habitat disturbance and conservation strategies to address this issue; Engaging Local Communities: Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between mountain communities and biodiversity. Highlighting the importance of engaging local stakeholders in conservation efforts; and Applications of cutting-edge technologies for mountain biodiversity conservation.

S-11 (Landscape change, ecological restoration, and sustainable development )

Prof. Dr. Dinesh Raj Bhuju, Academician at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology and Hon. Professor of Mid-West University

Landscape change is a universal phenomenon that has intensified in recent times due to the expanding scope of human activities. It reflects evolving drivers behind land management practices, driven by the pursuit of livelihoods and developmental objectives. Landscape change results from human activities such as deforestation, urbanization, agriculture, and infrastructure development. These changes can lead to ecological degradation, including habitat loss, fragmentation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Various detrimental effects are recognized, which are manifested as ecological degradation, including habitat loss, fragmentation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Injudicious land management has caused disruptions in the provision of ecosystem services and goods, posing threats to ecological sustainability and integrity. Recently, efforts towards preserving and restoring ecosystems have emerged. Promoting ecosystem resilience and restoration in mitigating the impacts of landscape change, conserving biodiversity, and enhancing overall environmental sustainability has concurrently been recognized in research and policy. Apart from extensive research, the following key questions are still unclear: How does landscape change impact biodiversity and ecosystem health? What are effective strategies for ecological restoration in degraded landscapes? How do socio-economic factors and governance influence ecological restoration success? This session aims to cover this theme and shall try to address the above issues.

S-12 (Mountain society, mountain tourism, human-nature linkages, Himalaya (II))

Prof. Dr. Jiho Han, College of Tourism, Rikkyo University, Japan

Dr. Kazuyuki Watanabe, Faculty of International Tourism, Hannan University, Japan 

Dr. Hanlin Xu, Business School, Jiaxing University, China

This session will discuss current issues related to sustainable mountain tourism and mountain society in developing countries. Focusing on the issues observed in the mountain society in Nepal and Asia, the current status and challenges the residents and visitors of the mountainous areas are facing will be discussed; how mountain people and visitors use and influence nature; conversely, and how they are influenced by the natural environment. Since most of the countries reopened their borders after the long Pandemic closure, many popular destinations are suffering from overtourism even worse than before the Pandemic. Mountain tourism and mountain societies development need to be promoted carefully and require a well-prepared long-term plan to secure their sustainability. Mountain societies are greatly affected by various external pressures/factors (natural pressures such as climate change and disasters and social pressures such as changes in political systems, policies, development, and war). Also, the linkages between people and nature are extremely diverse and dynamic in High Mountains such as the Himalaya, Karakoram, and Pamir. It is extremely important to understand the current status of the human-nature environment for future generations and to find a direction for creating and maintaining a sustainable society. 

S-13 (Designing innovative nature-based solutions for the restoration of mountain landscapes)

Dr. Ram Avtar, Hokkaido University, Japan

Due to the negative effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and increased extreme events, mountain landscapes worldwide have encountered unprecedented challenges in recent years, posing a significant threat to mountain communities, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. As a result of this pressing demand, natural alternatives for repairing and sustaining alpine habitats are gaining popularity. The proposed session will bring together experts in the field to examine creative ideas to explore creative ideas for addressing the environmental and socioeconomic implications of climate change in mountainous regions. The session will focus on several critical issues, beginning with discussing incentive methods to foster collective action and sustainable practices among diverse stakeholders. By maximizing these incentives, robust participation from local communities, governments, and the commercial sector can be secured to enhance restoration efforts. Furthermore, addressing the crucial issue of loss and damage caused by climate change in Nepal’s alpine landscapes would provide vital insights towards minimizing consequences and protecting vulnerable communities. Moreover, the importance of geospatial data to understand forest biomass and dynamics will be investigated, supporting evidence-based decision-making in restoring and managing mountain environments. This novel use of technology allows for the monitoring of changes, the assessment of forest health, and the development of tailored treatments to improve ecosystem resilience. Furthermore, the session will shed light on the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) benefits-sharing system for the benefit of local communities and sustainable carbon-related projects.

S-14 (Tourism resources, disaster and tourism development)

Dr. Narendra Raj Khanal, President of the Geomorphological Society of Nepal; Professor Emeritus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

The purposes of this session are to assess tourism resources and their utilization situation, to discuss the impact of disasters (earthquakes, floods, avalanches, landslides, and fire) on tourism development, and pilgrimage tourism development in mountain areas of Nepal and beyond. This session welcomes papers on trekking and mountaineering tourism as well. 

S-15 (Cryosphere in Changing Climates)

Dr. Mohan B. Chand, Cryosphere Society of Nepal

The cryosphere has immense significance from the perspective of various Earth system processes. However, because global warming is predominantly attributed to anthropogenic activities, all components of the cryosphere are observed to be experiencing changes in unprecedented magnitudes. Glaciers, permafrost, and snow cover are all observed to have critical mass losses in the cryosphere expanding to different spatial and temporal scales and resulting in long-term global and regional effects. This session deals with the impact of climate change on the cryosphere covering the high mountains. Topics can include snow-glacier geophysical and hydrological processes; satellite monitoring; snow-ice melt; runoff anomalies and their impact on geomorphology, permafrost distribution and changes in a lake; glacier-hydrology; cryospheric hazards, glacier dynamics; methods and techniques in and/or succinct reviews on the surface and sub-surface studies of glaciers, and permafrost and applications. We cordially invite papers, especially on the following topics: (1) mass balance of glaciers, (2) impact of climate change on the cryosphere, (3) glacier-hydrology of the high mountain region, (4) cryospheric hazards (GLOFs, snow/ice avalanches, snow storms, etc.), and (5) snow cover and permafrost.

S-16 (Sustainable Freshwater Resources and Mountain Ecosystems)

Mr. Sanot Adhikari, Youth Alliance for Environment, Nepal

Dr. Mohan B. Chand, Cryosphere Society of Nepal, Nepal

Sustainability of freshwater resources in mountain ecosystems is essential for ecological integrity, human survival, and global water security. Achieving this sustainability requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses conservation, sustainable land use, community engagement, water conservation, and international cooperation to address the complex challenges posed by climate change and human activities in mountainous regions. Climate change significantly threatens mountain ecosystems by causing glacier melt, altered precipitation patterns, and increased extreme weather events. Human activities like deforestation, mining, and tourism can lead to habitat degradation and reduced water quality. Growing water demands, both locally and downstream, can result in over-extraction, further jeopardizing ecosystem health. A holistic approach is essential to ensure the sustainability of freshwater resources and mountain ecosystems. This involves conservation efforts, including establishing and maintaining protected areas to safeguard these environments and regulate human activities. Efforts to encourage efficient water use practices and international cooperation in regions with shared mountainous borders are essential. Raising awareness about the vital role of mountain ecosystems and freshwater resources can lead to responsible behavior and policy advocacy. Here, we invite the papers related to but not limited to: ‘1) the vulnerability of freshwater resources and mountain ecosystems, (2) the Impact of climate change on freshwater resources, (3) water resources and mountain communities, (4) upstream and downstream linkages, and (5) watershed management.

S-17 (Hydrochemistry and Water Quality in the Himalayas)

Dr. Ramesh Raj Pant, Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Dr. Mohan B. Chand, Cryosphere Society of Nepal, Nepal

Dr. Namraj Dhami, Pokhara University, Nepal

In recent years, the study of hydrochemistry and water quality in the Himalayas has gained prominence within the global scientific community under the context of climate change. This field focuses on characterizing the chemistry of water and understanding the mechanisms that control its quality. It is directly linked to natural factors such as precipitation, geochemical weathering, and evapo-crystallization, as well as anthropogenic activities like wastewater and agricultural runoff. Hydrochemistry and water quality assessment play a pivotal role in ensuring the sustainable development of natural areas. Assessing water quality involves measuring physical, chemical, and biological attributes, and it is closely tied to achieving several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals encompass areas such as SDG 3: health and well-being, SDG 6: clean water and sanitation, SDG 12: responsible consumption and production, SDG 13: climate action, SDG 14: life below water, and SDG 15: protect, restore and promote sustainable terrestrial ecosystems. Addressing water quality issues is essential for making progress towards these SDGs. We can significantly advance sustainable development, enhance human well-being, protect ecosystems, and promote global cooperation by taking concerted action to improve water quality. Nepal, a country rich in water resources and known for its pristine water quality, has a crucial role to play in this endeavor. We cordially invite submissions of papers from national and international professionals, researchers, and students, with a focus on the following sub-themes: (a) hydrochemistry and mechanisms governing aquatic environments, (b) assessment of aquatic ecosystem health, (c) suitability of waters for drinking, domestic use, and irrigation, (d) water quality’s impact on livelihoods, and (e) Himalayan water bodies under the context of global climate change.

G-01 (general session-01: Advances in mountain research on bio issues)

Chairs: TBD

This session discusses studies on ecology- and biology-related issues found in mountain areas. 

G-02 (general session-02: Advances in mountain research on abio issues)

Chairs: TBD

This session discusses studies on non-biotic issues such as geology, geomorphology, soil, and water found in mountain areas. 

G-03 (general session-03: Advances in mountain research on tourism, development, community, and sustainability)

Chairs: TBD

This session discusses studies on tourism, development, community, gender equality, and social inclusion, Global Warming, Adaptation and Resilience, Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Energy Sources, Culture and Knowledge of Indigenous Communities, sustainability, and other relevant issues found in mountain areas.

G-04 (general session-04: Others)

Chairs: TBD

This session discusses studies on any other issues related to mountains.