Mountain forests, alpine meadows, scree slopes, glaciers - these high-altitude ecosystems provide habitat for a large number of species of animals and plants. Shaped by the high elevations and extreme climates, these organisms have adapted to the forces of their environment. This specialization makes them even more susceptible to disturbances caused by humans. They are, in fact, indicator species of the impact of man on his environment. The preservation of these ecosystems relies on a better understanding of the mechanisms to which the environment is subject. CREA is undertaking the long-term task of leading the research on different animal and plant systems in this unique ecosystem.