Contents - Previous - Next
This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at http://unu.edu
This book is a product of the United Nations University (UNU) project on Highland-Lowland Interactive Systems. Centring on the project's Mountain Hazards Mapping study in Nepal, extensive reconnaissance and detailed field investigations were undertaken, not only in Nepal, but in several parts of the Indian Himalaya, in Tibet (Xizang Autonomous Region), Sichuan, Yunnan, and Xinjiang, of the People's Republic of China, and in northwestern Thailand. These various journeys, sometimes into remote mountain areas, afforded us an unusually extensive experience, often together, at other times with several colleagues, most of whom worked with us in the Kakani and Khumbu test areas of Nepal, or were members of the staffs of the Commission for Integrated Survey of Renewable Natural Resources (CISNAR) and the Geographical Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They included: Khagda Basnet, Markus Bichsel, Inger-Marie Bjonness, Barbara grower, Alton Byers, Elizabeth Byers, Nel Caine, Chen Bao-lin, Chen Chuan-you, Sumitra M. Gurung, Heinrich Hafner, Hans Hurni, Corneille Jest, Kirsten Johnson, Narendra R. Khanal, Hans Kienholz, Li Wenhua, Liao Jungua, Liu Lan-hui, Lee MacDonald, Pradeep K. Mool, Elizabeth Ann Olson, Tjerk Peters, Guy Schneider, Kamal K. Shrestha, Ann Stettler, Rabindra M. Tamrakar, Colin E. Thorn, Daniel Vuichard, Yang Zhou-huai, Yao Zhiyun, Zhang Yongzu, Markus Zimmermann.
The fieldwork was largely financed by the UNU, with significant contributions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Nepal National Committee for the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, and the UNESCO MAB Programme. Within UNESCO we owe special thanks to our colleague Dr. Gisbert Glaser. We were also greatly assisted by released time from our home institutions, including a Faculty Fellowship from the University of Colorado, and extensive material support from the Geographical Institute, University of Berne.
Many of the results of the field studies have been published in Mountain Research and Development, and elsewhere, or have appeared as doctoral, masters, and diploma dissertations. Mountain Research and Development has also been heavily supported by UNU.
None of this extensive body of work would have been possible without the total commitment, goodwill, abiding faith, and administrative skill of our guide and colleague, Professor Dr. Walther Manshard, both in his capacity as UNU Vice-Rector, and present position as UNU Senior Programme Director, ably assisted by Lee MacDonald and many of the UNU Tokyo headquarters staff. This support of UNU has been sustained by the current Vice-Rector Dr. Roland Fuchs; the special moral support of former UNU Rector Soedjatmoko was also of inestimable value.
The fieldwork, and extensive travels, much of it in restricted and politically sensitive areas, depended absolutely upon a number of national institutes and their staffs. In Nepal, the National Committee for MAB (UNESCO) served as our host institution, and we are especially indebted to National Committee Secretaries Dr. Cherunjivi Shrestha and Professor Suresh R. Chalise; we also appreciate support received from the National Planning Commission, and especially Dr. Ratna Rana and Professor Upendra Man Malla. Professors Kamal K. Shrestha and Suresh R. Chalise served as local UNU coordinators. In China we received vital administrative support and encouragement from Professor Sun Honglie, Vice-President, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Professor Li Wenhua, Director, CISNAR. During the latter stages of the study in Nepal, Dr. Colin Rosser, Director, and staff of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) provided invaluable assistance, as did the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance (SATA).
Many of the ideas expressed in this book evolved from spirited informal discussions with all those so far individually acknowledged. However, the form and content of the book has depended heavily upon a group of colleagues whose tireless and selfless assistance has been indispensable and who really deserve credit as contributing authors. These include, amongst others, Sunderlal Bahuguna, Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, David Griffin, Lawrence S. Hamilton, Sun Honglie, Janos Hrabovszky, Donald Messerschmidt, David Pitt, and Michael Thompson. Maurice F. Strong warrants special thanks for serving as Honorary Chairman of the Mohonk Mountain Conference, for contributing the thoughtprovoking Foreword, and for several years of constant encouragement and moral support.
Andreas Lauterburg and Markus Wyss, Geographical Institute, University of Berne, contributed major reports that became vital parts of Chapters 2 and 6. Without the help of Professors A. B. Mukerji, Chandigarh, and R. B. Singh, New Delhi, the work of Andreas Lauterburg would not have been possible. The skill of Andreas Brodbeck, Martin Grosjean, Andreas Lauterburg, Susanne Wymann, and Markus Wyss, of the same institute, for their cartographic assistance is gratefully acknowledged. Professor JeanFrançois DJean-François Dobremez kindly allowed us to borrow extensively from his book on Nepal to provide many of the figures used in Chapter 2; they are credited in the text. We are grateful to Dr. Barry C. Bishop, National Geographic Society, for making available prints of photographs taken in the 1920s and 1930s in Yunnan by Dr. Joseph F. Rock and for alerting us to the existence of this 'treasuret of old photographs in the archives of the Society.
This acknowledgment introduced the book as a product of UNU research; equally, it evolved from the development of the International Mountain Society, and our thanks are due to all our IMS colleagues, but especially to Professor Frank P. Davidson, 'father' of the Society and its inveterate supporter and promoter. It is also a contribution of the Commission on Mountain Geoecology of the International Geographical Union and a tribute to its founder, the late Professor Dr. Carl Troll. We would like to record that it was Carl Troll who brought us together during a Commission symposium in the Canadian Rockies in 1972 and, as he has done so many times with his numerous colleagues, set us firmly on the path of mountain geoecology.
It remains to thank a group of skilled, loyal, and dedicated assistants, because, without their help, we would not have completed our task. Frau Florin, secretary of the Geographical Institute, University of Berne, better known to her many mountain friends as 'Flo', contributed innumerable services; Laura Koch, as loyal and astonishingly accurate secretary of the UNU-University of Colorado Mountain Project, 1979-87, provided immaculate typescripts of the several early drafts of the manuscript; Ann Underwood completed the final word processing with consummate skill.
Mary Ann Kernan guided us through many difficult moments with editorial aplomb and cheerful encouragement; the editorial assistance of Ruth Jeavons and Stephanie Homer was also of great value, and Pauline Ives provided extensive assistance in the preparation of the manuscript, as well as being a valuable sounding board for many of the ideas introduced. Without the indirect help and forebearance of both Beatrice Messerli and Pauline Ives, we ourselves would have entered a state of supercrisis!
With so much help it would seem that there can be no mistakes nor misinterpretations herein: there undoubtedly are and for these, acknowledgment is due only to ourselves.
We would like to dedicate this work to the wonderful, long-suffering, skilful, and hospitable subsistence farmers of the Himalaya.
Contents - Previous - Next