The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 11 December the International Day of Mountains
Covering about 22 per cent of the world’s land surface, mountains are home to about 13 per cent of the world’s population and provide globally essential goods and services such as fresh water, biological diversity, food and energy (Source http://www.un.org/).
Mountains and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 8. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes the following three targets that directly address sustainable mountain development:
a) Target 6.6: By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes;
(b) Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements;
c) Target 15.4: By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.
The Mountain Partnership secretariat is the entity within FAO responsible for measuring efforts to reach target 15.4 and has developed the Mountain Green Cover Index as an official indicator, based on the recognition that there is a direct correlation between green coverage of mountain areas and their state of health and capacity to fulfil their ecosystem roles
At the European level
Forests and other wooded areas occupied 37.1 % of the total area of the EU-27 in 2012, cropland nearly a quarter (24.8 %) of the area, grassland just over one fifth (20.7 %) and shrubland 6.6 %, while water areas and wetland accounted for 4.8 %, just ahead of built-up and other artificial areas, such as roads and railways, which had a 4.1 % share.
Land cover varies in a significant way between countries located on the one hand in southern and northern Europe and on the other hand in western and eastern Europe. Woodland was the prevailing land cover in northern parts of Europe in 2012 and for a number of EU Member States whose typography is dominated by mountains and hilly areas.
The share of woodland in the total area reached 60.0 % or higher in Finland, Sweden and Slovenia (Alpine); it was over 50.0 % in Estonia and Latvia and over 40.0 % in Austria (Alpine) and Slovakia (the Tatra mountains). Woodland and forests in these Member States have traditionally been very important ecologically, economically and socio-culturally (source: http://ec.europa.eu/).