The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is an alliance of partners from universities, governments, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, not-for-profits, and businesses dedicated to the sustainability of mountain environments and communities across the country and around the world.
CMN was established in January 2016 to collaboratively address the diverse challenges facing mountain regions by harnessing existing capacities and seeking new research relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and communities. Our aim is for CMN to become a national and global leader in inclusive, co-designed, interdisciplinary mountain-research that recognizes the interconnectedness in mountain systems between the environment, economy, and society, and encourages an integrated approach for long-term sustainability that serves the needs of mountain communities.
In 2018, CMN submitted a successful proposal to the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program to support its ambitious research, training and knowledge mobilization agenda. The program funds interdisciplinary and intersectoral applied research networks that address pressing economic, social and environmental challenges facing Canadians. Supported by the Government of Canada’s research granting agencies, networks support the growth of Canada’s multi-disciplinary research capacity, generate new knowledge and innovative applications, provide training opportunities to develop a diverse and qualified workforce, and encourage national and international collaboration between academia, government, non-government organizations, industry, and communities.
Learn more about CMN’s governance and management here.
Why Canada needs a Network of Centres of Excellence in mountains
Canada is a country of mountains. They watch over a quarter of our land mass and—whether described in terms of plate tectonics, watersheds, ecosystem services, or sacred places—are essential to the environmental, economic, spiritual, socio-cultural identity, and well-being of Canada’s diverse peoples.
Consider, for example, that mountains are the water towers of the world, sourcing water for approximately half of humanity, and that in North America alone they collect 2/3rds of the continental snowpack so essential to streamflow generation. Consider also that many of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit communities live in or near mountains. However, mountain landscapes and communities, and places downstream are facing unprecedented change pressured by: climate change; local, regional, and globally-driven shifts in industrial, economic or recreational activities; and the increased movement of people within and through mountains. These changes are occurring within the broader context of
Canada’s efforts to build new governance models that recognize Indigenous ways of knowing and doing in an age of reconciliation. Canada has considerable expertise in mountain research and has endorsed international agreements that require mountain ecosystem conservation and sustainability. However, Canadian mountain research today is not coordinated or interdisciplinary, and non-academics are rarely involved in its prioritization, design, and implementation. This creates barriers to informed decision-making and action through policies or practices.
It is urgent that Canada coordinate its mountain research agenda and programs to improve research outcomes and better enable their effective and comprehensive application and use.