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A New Mountain Delineation: Including the Environment, Economy, and Society in Geography

Authors: Aubrey Schoff*, , Julia Klein, Colorado State University, Cara Steger, Colorado State University
Topics: Mountain Environments, Environmental Perception, Political Geography
Keywords: mountain ecosystems, climate change, mountains, delineation, mountain delineation, biophysical, policy, land management, slope, elevation, relative relief, landform classes, Sustainable Development Goals, environment, economy, society
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The high exposure and sensitivity of mountain ecosystems to climate change results in these regions exhibiting vulnerability in response to changes in climate. As these warming trends continue, mountainous regions are among the first to experience these environmental changes. Around one billion people globally rely on meltwater from the mountains to sustain them during the dry season; this supply is affected by the warming temperatures trends already present (Kohler and Maselli, 2009). The most prevalent mountain delineations by Kapos et al. (2000) (K1), K├Ârner et al. (2011) (K2), Karagulle et al. (2017) (K3) are most often used to define mountains today. Although these biophysical criteria delineate mountains to an extent, there are additional environmental, economic, and socio-cultural factors that should be considered in the outlining of these regions in order to inform policy and land management decision making as the mountains continue to be affected by climatic changes. We converted three existing layers, K1 (slope and elevation), K2 (relative relief), and K3 (updated landform classes), into a useable file in ArcGIS and combined them to create a biophysical base mountainous region delineation. We identified additional parameters from existing conceptual models (Klein et al. 2019 and Raworth 2012) and the Sustainable Development Goals under the categories of environment, economy, and society, to test in comparison to the base delineation. We will explore which additional parameters hold significance in representing mountainous regions when compared to the base delineation.

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