Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA)

The functional significance of mountain biodiversity


We all appreciate the fundamental importance of biological richness as such. But what is the functional significance of this diversity? Why does this diversity really matter? These questions have been standing at the cradle of GMBA for the last 20 years and are rightfully asked by politicians, stakeholders, and the broader public alike.


With our initiative “Diversity and function”, we aim at compiling examples illustrating the functional significance of biological diversity in mountains. These examples will be listed on our website and summarized in a publication.

Your contribution

We have already a few examples and case studies in our collection (see examples below). What examples and case studies do you know of or have published?
We would appreciate if you would send us:
  • one sentence that starts with “This paper illustrates the functional significance of... (see examples below)
  • the reference to the publication your statement refers to or the pdf
  • one or two pictures that illustrate the example you refer to

Diversity and interill erosion

Interrill erosion at disturbed alpine sites: effects of plant functional diversity and vegetation cover

This paper illustrates that the diversity of plant functional groups, more than plant species diversity, protects alpine slopes against interill erosion

Single grass as a protective engineer in the Caucasus

Drought at erosion edges selects for a ‘hidden’ keystone species

This paper illustrates that a single grass species (out of a suite of other grassland species) became - entirely unexpected - the protective engineer of a sharp erosion edge in the central Caucasus

Grasses as a protective engineers in the Swiss Alps

Plant species dominance shifts across erosion edge–meadow transects in the Swiss Alps

This paper illustrates that a species that was found to engineer erosion edges in the Caucasus, performs a similar ‘job' 3000 km away in the Swiss Alps

Flowering ground vegetation benefits wild pollinators

Flowering ground vegetation benefits wild pollinators and fruit set of almond within arid smallholder orchards

This paper illustrates that wild native insects are more effective at enhancing almond fruit set than imported honeybees in mountain orchards in South Sinai, Egypt