Georg Gratzer · William S. Keeton
The world is facing numerous and severe environmental, social, and economic challenges. To address these, in September 2015 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the resolution Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their 169 targets are ambitious, broadly encompassing, and indivisible. They are intended to guide nations and communities toward attaining healthy and peaceful livelihoods free of poverty and hunger. Collectively the goals envision sound and safe environments, where global threats like climate change are successfully combated through both mitigation and adaptation. Agenda 2030 envisages sustainable production patterns with inclusive, effective economies and institutions. It is of specific relevance to mountain communities, where the population is predominantly rural and half of the rural inhabitants experience food insecurity and are often highly dependent on forest resources. Mountain forests also contribute to human welfare well beyond the local community: through functions such as climate and hydrological services provided at regional and global scales, and harvested commodities traded at multiple economic scales. In this introductory essay we argue that sustainable forest management in mountain areas disproportionately contributes to achieving the SDGs. We discuss (1) the potential of mountain forests to help achieve SDGs in mountainous regions and beyond, (2) the potential of the SDGs to help solve severe socioeconomic and ecological problems in forested mountain areas, and (3) challenges and opportunities associated with implementing the SDGs. We base our argumentation also on the 8 papers presented in this Focus Issue of Mountain Research and Development. Together, they establish a clear connection between sustainable use and protection of mountain forests and vital ecosystem services upon which many regions depend. We discuss challenges of understanding interactions between goals and targets, and highlight the role of science in achieving the SDGs. Finally, we stress the urgent need for establishing a new narrative of socioeconomic transformation to ensure that Agenda 2030 is successful.

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Assessing the Economic Situation of Small-Scale Farm Forestry in Mountain Regions: A Case Study in Austria
Mountain Research and Development 2017 (
Austria is one of the few countries with a long tradition of monitoring the economic performance of forest holdings. The national Farm Accountancy Data Network also addresses some forestry-specific issues, given the high significance of farm forestry...

3rd degree connections

Negotiating the use of biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction
Frontiers in Marine Science 2016 (
A relatively small group of states is disproportionately active in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), raising questions of equity, while a myriad of sectoral regulations and guidelines spread across multiple international bodies has le...

3rd degree connections

Contribution of Schinziophyton rautanenii to Sustainable Diets, Livelihood Needs and Environmental Sustainability in Southern Africa
Sustainability 2018 (
Schinziophyton rautanenii is a multipurpose plant species in Southern Africa which provides numerous ecosystem goods and services. This review evaluated the contribution of the species to sustainable diets, livelihood needs and environmental sustaina...

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