Mountains are the providers of ecosystem services to nearly half the world’s
human population. The extreme colder environments of mountains possess
several climatic factors that generate stress for life, such as, high exposure to
harmful radiation, low nutrient and water availability, desiccation, etc. While
these environments harbour a variety of cold adapted plants, animals, and
microorganisms, it has also been realized that the climate and land use pattern
have enriched biodiversity in the mountain ecosystems. Moreover, mountain
ecosystems are known to be rich in endemics.
Next to Polar regions, Himalaya is one of the geographic locations that
is recognized as a unique low-temperature environment. Himalaya is referred
with highly diverse regions in terms of geographical and biological aspects,
including evergreen forests, grass lands, cold deserts, glaciers, lakes, hot
springs, etc. Further, the Himalayan mountain ranges offer huge natural
resources in the region. These distinct geographic regions have climatic
dissimilarities that make the Himalayan region a hot spot of biodiversity.
From foothills to the top, these mountain ranges possess unique and highly
different biological components.
Extensive studies have been done on the floral and faunal diversity of
Himalaya; interestingly in last few decades microbial communities have also
come in the frontline research, particularly with respect to the diversity
and applications of extremophilic microorganisms. While the biodiversity
under low temperature environments contributes to a range of ecosystem
services, it is equally important in biotechnology perspective, leading to its
applications to Agriculture, Medicine, and Industry