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Mountain ecosystems are found on every continent and sustain an estimated ten-percent of the world's population. In addition, billions of people living in the lowlands depend on these ecosystems for food and other resources such as water, raw materials and energy. These areas are also important sources of plant and animal diversity, both wild and domestic. In the past few decades, environmental changes and rapid increases in population densities in these mountain areas have increased problems for planning effective resource management strategies. Despite the global recognition and importance these areas have received after UNCED in 1992, many mountain communities continue to live in poverty. Through Integrated Natural Resource Management Research, CIP and other Future Harvest Centers are contributing to alleviate poverty, increase food security, and protect the environment in mountain areas.

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