Hydrological, ecological, geomorphic and economic implications of Mountain Resort Development
|Convener: C. de Jong|
Mountain regions throughout the world face intense development pressures. Although a considerable body of research has documented the effects of traditional forms of mountain development, particularly deforestation and abandonment of agriculture on watershed processes, less attention has been paid to the implications of resort development in mountain settings on hydrological, ecological, and geomorphic and economic processes. Resort development in these ecologically sensitive and dynamic geomorphic settings has multiple impacts since it:
- increases impervious cover through ski run grooming and urbanization
- accelerates erosion, landslides and debris flows on ski runs, lift tracks, roads, around reservoirs and pipelines for artificial snow production
- introduces exogenous water and pollutant inputs
- introduces new organisms and minerals to the landscape
- causes water deficits due to water export away from catchments
- alters natural drainage networks by dissecting moraines and rock glaciers and diverting water for artificial snow production, swimming pools and household consumption
- triggers water scarcity and water conflicts with other uses such as drinking water
Wide-spread technical adaptation to climate change, mainly into higher altitudes and over longer time periods, is intensifying these impacts. Their economic implications, such as increasing energy and water costs for the maintenance or enlargement of mountain resorts, ski runs, lift capacity and artificial snow production require consideration. For this session, we invite papers that explore any aspect of the hydrological, ecological, or geomorphic or economic implications of mountain resort development, drawn from observations, empirical or modeling studies. Cross-cutting themes are particularly welcome. We also welcome contributions that document the extent of resort development or expansion in diverse geographic settings and contributions that explore the policy implications of resort development on sustainable water supplies for mountain regions and downstream communities. Contributions from scientists as well as local stakeholders, environmental organizations and resort operators are welcome.
Brian McGlynn (Montana State University) "Quantifying watershed sensitivity to spatially variable N loading from mountain resort development"
Camille Gonseth (EPFL Lausanne) "The economic aspects of artificial snow production in the perspective of climate change"