Mountains cover 22% of the Earth’s land surface and offer homes to plants, animals, and around 1 billion people. They are an important part of the natural world. The shape and elevation of a mountain can affect the ecosystem.
Mountains, as part of Earth’s geography, have long exuded a certain mystery. Mountain gods appear in civilizations and belief systems all around the world from the Mayans to Japan’s Shinto religion. They’re also adored for their majesty. But what makes them so special? We bring you 15 reasons why mountains are important.
15 Benefits Of Mountains To Highlight Their Significance
Mountains affect life surviving there along with determining precipitation falls and erosion control. They also have a significant impact on climate patterns due to their height. One of the most interesting things about mountains is how their rich soil supports life on Earth’s surface by providing fresh water and nutrients needed to sustain animal life.
1. Mountains Are Home To Many Animals
Animals often thrive better in high elevations due to cooler temperatures and increased precipitation. Adaptations, such as thicker or denser fur, allow animals to stay warm while living in the mountains.
Many bears, foxes, deer, and mountain goats consider mountains their home.
2. Mountains Have Abundant Plants
Plants are a part of a larger food web. They rely on other plants and animals for survival. Mountain plant species often have specific adaptations that help them survive high elevations. For example, some plant species live in mountains around the world and can survive harsh winters.
3. Mountains Are Home To Many People
Approximately one billion people live in mountain regions around the world. In fact, more than half of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of a mountain! Mountain residents have been living there for thousands of years, and they continue to rely on these majestic landforms for their livelihoods.
4. Mountains Are Good For Water Storage
Mountains are the world’s water towers – supplying approximately 60 to 80 percent of all freshwater on Earth. The area at the base of a mountain is referred to as its watershed. Plants, animals, and their decomposing remains help fill mountain soil. This soil helps control water flow by absorbing rainwater during the wet season.
Mountains also store water which makes them great for providing fresh drinking water down hillsides. However, all available evidence suggests that glaciers throughout the world are drying up as a result of climate change. Over the last decades, at least 600 glaciers have vanished completely, causing water shortages that threaten the lives of billions of people downriver.
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5. Mountains Act As Navigators For Migratory Birds
During avian’s non-breeding season, they often fly hundreds of miles south to mountainous regions where food is abundant during winter months.
6. Mountains Are A Hotspot For Adventures
People love to explore the beauty and mystery of mountains.
Mountain climbing is also considered one of the most strenuous sports in the world. It requires tremendous physical and mental endurance. Adventurers and explorers can discover spectacular views, rare plant and animal species, and hidden valleys not accessible from any other place on Earth.
While Mount Everest can be reached by traveling overland, many of the world’s highest peaks – like K2 and Nanga Parbat – require mountaineers to use helicopters and face even greater challenges.
7. Mountains Are A Source Of Minerals And Ores
Many mountains contain minerals used for building roads and houses, producing electricity, and making other products. Mountains are also a source of metal ores used by humans. Mountain ranges are often home to valuable mineral resources, which makes them important areas for mining.
The Appalachian Mountains have many coal mines and have been mined since 1750 for iron ore.
8. Mountains Protect Wildlife
The Himalayas are home to more than 200 kinds of mammals, 1,500 types of birds, 700 types of fish, and more than 300 varieties of reptiles and amphibians. They also contain some of the largest and most biodiverse temperate forests in the world.
Mountain ecosystems are vital to the survival of all organisms, including humans. They act as natural barriers against landslides, floods, and other environmental disasters that could result from deforestation or over-farming at lower elevations.
9. Mountains Provide Food For People And Livestock
People living in mountainous regions rely on their livestock for dairy products and meat. In the European Alps, cows are used to produce cheese and butter. People also make use of wild animals like sheep, goats, reindeer, yak, etc.
Mountainous areas allow people access to fresh water and farmland that they couldn’t find elsewhere.
10. Mountains Serve As Natural Barriers
Mountains protect from natural disasters. They often provide natural barriers that protect civilizations and other important areas.
For example, the Rocky Mountains in North America have protected people in cities such as Denver and Salt Lake City from powerful winter winds that blow off the Great Plains. Mountaintops are often covered in snow and ice year-round. They act as a barrier between rain and the low-lying areas that surround them.
Snowfall at high elevations is especially important because it acts like an insurance policy against the long, dry summers. If all of this snow were to melt, floods would result. The Three Gorges Dam in China controls flooding by using the water from the Yangtze River, which flows from Tibet.
11. Mountains Affect The Climate
The height of mountains can affect the climate around them. Mountains are beautiful in every season, but they’re especially stunning when topped with fresh snow!
The Himalaya Mountains prevent rain-bearing clouds from traveling north. As a result, northern India and parts of Pakistan are dry; however, places like Bangladesh and southern Nepal receive much more rainfall due to the mountains’ obstruction. This makes them excellent destination travel spots.
12. Mountains Promote Tourism
Mountains can support a large number of tourists who want to enjoy the beauty and natural surroundings.
By offering hiking trails and camping grounds, mountains provide tourists with access to exceptional outdoor activities such as skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
Mount Fuji is Japan’s most famous mountain tourist attraction because it has five lakes surrounding it and is located near the city of Tokyo.
13. Mountains Are Key To Human Well-Being And Economic Prosperity
Mountains also offer clean air and beautiful landscapes for people’s enjoyment. Tourism is an important industry in mountainous countries like Switzerland, Austria, and South Korea. Hence these countries generate great revenue by tourism.
14. Mountains Are A Natural Pharmacy
Many remedies can be found in mountains for treating various health problems, such as altitude sickness and pulmonary edema.
Mountains have a number of plants that can be used to cure sick people and animals. Aconitum Ferox grows in the Himalayas and has been used for centuries as a treatment for altitude sickness, pulmonary edema, and asthma.
Mountain-dwelling communities have also incorporated local vegetation into their diets to maintain their health.
15. Mountains Maintain Biodiversity
Mountains contain biodiversity because their ecosystems are isolated from other places by large expanses of flat land, deserts, or oceans. Many types of lifeforms that live in the mountains are endemic to them – meaning that they can only be found in these special areas. They serve as natural boundaries that protect ecosystems and resources from being destroyed or contaminated by humans and industry.
The Alps are home to many rare species of plants and animals, including the brown bear, lynx, chamois, ibex, golden eagle, hawkweed, and gentians. The deep valleys that surround them allow for unique lifeforms to grow undisturbed.
When mountains form a ring around an area, they create a protected zone for plants and animals to live in. Without them, many of these species would lose their habitat and become endangered or extinct.
Importance Of Mountains – Conclusion
Mountains are important because they provide a variety of benefits to humans and animals that live near them. They offer many different types of food and natural remedies, protect from disasters such as landslides and floods, serve as barriers for people in cities, affect local climates, keep tourists coming back, and provide a variety of natural resources for economic prosperity.
All of these benefits combined make mountains important to humans and animals everywhere. The planet would not be the same without these majestic peaks!
A sophomore in engineering, I’m a budding writer and an adventure enthusiast. My passion leads me on to try my hands on different things. I enjoy music, food, and good company. Making my way through life in my own ways, you’ll find me holding a camera and capturing what this world has to offer.