Alpine and polar tundra habitats are easily disturbed in late spring and summer during the thawing of the surface layers of soil, above an impermeable layer of ice. If vegetation is disturbed erosion is likely and regeneration is a slow process. Damage in winter often takes the form of compaction resulting from the action of skiers and vehicles. Compacted snow does not protect the vegetation in the same way as does natural snow cover. Upland areas suffer from pollution as their vegetation cover intercepts wind-blown clouds carrying contaminants and plants are under stress growing near the environmental limits. Agriculture in alpine regions is closer to the 'margins' than at lower altitudes and so is likely to have a greater effect upon the environment.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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