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Mountain Geography: Physical and Human Dimensions

MARTIN F. PRICE
ALTON C. BYERS
DONALD A. FRIEND
THOMAS KOHLER
LARRY W. PRICE
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 396
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt46n4cj
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    Mountain Geography
    Book Description:

    Mountains cover a quarter of the Earth's land surface and a quarter of the global population lives in or adjacent to these areas. The global importance of mountains is recognized particularly because they provide critical resources, such as water, food and wood; contain high levels of biological and cultural diversity; and are often places for tourism and recreation and/or of sacred significance. This major revision of Larry Price's book Mountains and Man (1981) is both timely and highly appropriate. The past three decades have been a period of remarkable progress in our understanding of mountains from an academic point of view. Of even greater importance is that society at large now realizes that mountains and the people who reside in them are not isolated from the mainstream of world affairs, but are vital if we are to achieve an environmentally sustainable future. Mountain Geography is a comprehensive resource that gives readers an in-depth understanding of the geographical processes occurring in the world's mountains and the overall impact of these regions on culture and society as a whole. The volume begins with an introduction to how mountains are defined, followed by a comprehensive treatment of their physical geography: origins, climatology, snow and ice, landforms and geomorphic processes, soils, vegetation, and wildlife. The concluding chapters provide an introduction to the human geography of mountains: attitudes toward mountains, people living in mountain regions and their livelihoods and interactions within dynamic environments, the diverse types of mountain agriculture, and the challenges of sustainable mountain development.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95697-1
    Subjects: Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. VII-X)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. XI-xiv)
    JACK D. IVES

    This major revision of Larry Price’s book Mountains and Man (1981) is both timely and highly appropriate. The intervening three decades encompass a time of remarkable progress in our understanding of mountains from a purely academic point of view. Of even greater importance is that society at large is coming to realize that mountains and mountain people are no longer isolated from the mainstream of world affairs but are vital if we are to achieve an environmentally sustainable future.

    The Foreword that I prepared for the 1981 book can yield comparisons between that book and this one and also allows...

  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    ALTON C. BYERS
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. CHAPTER ONE An Introduction to Mountains
    (pp. 1-10)
    ALTON C. BYERS, LARRY W. PRICE and MARTIN F. PRICE

    Most people are familiar with the importance of oceans and rainforests (Byers et al. 1999), thanks in part to the dozens of books, documentaries, programs, and Internet sites developed by education and conservation groups over the past two decades. Yet there is at least as strong a case for arguing that mountains are also of critical importance to people in nearly every country of the world (Messerli and Ives 1997; Debarbieux and Price 2008).

    For example, all of the worldʹs major rivers have their headwaters in mountains, and more than half of humanity relies on the fresh water that accumulates...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Origins of Mountains
    (pp. 11-40)
    JOHN F. SHRODER JR. and LARRY W. PRICE

    Views about mountain origins have changed considerably through time. During the Middle Ages and early modern Western Europe, mountains were regarded as ʺmonstrous excrescences of natureʺ; a prevailing view was that they had been created as punishment after manʹs expulsion from the Garden of Eden. This idea apparently had its origin in the fact that the story of creation in Genesis makes no mention of mountains. Explanations of mountain creation differed: Some said that interior fluids ruptured the spherical surface and piled up in great heaps; others leaned toward the cataclysmic biblical flood. Although more advanced ideas had been developed...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Mountain Climate
    (pp. 41-84)
    ANDREW J. BACH and LARRY W. PRICE

    Climate is the fundamental factor in establishing a natural environment, setting the stage on which all physical, chemical, and biological processes operate. This becomes especially evident at the climatic margins of the Earth, namely desert and tundra. Under temperate conditions, the effects of climate are often muted and intermingled, so that the relationships between stimuli and reactions are difficult to isolate, but under extreme conditions such relationships become more evident. As extremes constitute the norm in many areas within high mountains, a basic knowledge of climatic processes and characteristics is key to understanding the mountain milieu.

    In mountain areas, great...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Snow, Ice, Avalanches, and Glaciers
    (pp. 85-126)
    LELAND R. DEXTER, KARL W. BIRKELAND and LARRY W. PRICE

    The presence of frozen water in several forms is fundamental at high altitudes and provides the essential ingredient for the development of avalanches and glaciers. These interrelated phenomena, which contribute much to the distinctiveness of high mountain landscapes, offer a considerable challenge to the inhabitants, both plant and animal, of these regions.

    Snow is precipitation in the solid form that originates from the freezing of water in the atmosphere. This leads to one of the great mysteries of nature: Why should snow fall in the form of delicate and varying lacy crystals rather than as frozen raindrops? The commonly held...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Mountain Landforms and Geomorphic Processes
    (pp. 127-166)
    JASON R. JANKE and LARRY W. PRICE

    The mountain landscape is the product of both constructive and destructive processes. Mountains are created by forces originating from within the Earth, but they are soon modified and are eventually destroyed by external forces. Many mountain ranges have been created and destroyed throughout geologic time. The Alaska Range, Alps, Andes, Cascades, Himalaya, Rockies, and Sierra Nevada are all very young mountains and are still growing. Plate movement, which produces earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, may have destructive effects, but these processes are also fundamental to mountain construction. Present rates of orogeny in western North America exceed rates of erosion by about...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Mountain Soils
    (pp. 167-182)
    LARRY W. PRICE and CAROL P. HARDEN

    Soil is so common that most people assume they know what it is. The scientific definition of soil depends on who uses the term. To an engineer, soil is the unconsolidated material at the surface of the Earth, whereas to a biologist, soil is alive with living organisms that contribute to its physical and biological characteristics. For our purpose of examining the broad range of mountain soils on Earth, soil will be considered as the uppermost layer of the Earthʹs surface, in which organisms live, and which has physical, chemical, biological, and mineralogical properties that differ from those of the...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Mountain Vegetation
    (pp. 183-220)
    KEITH S. HADLEY, LARRY W. PRICE and GEORG GRABHERR

    Mountain environments display some of the most striking examples of vegetation transition on Earth, including such well-known patterns as vegetation zonation, treeline, and elevation-induced decreases in plant stature and species diversity. These and other mountain-related vegetation patterns have long intrigued biogeographers and ecologists, and they continue to provide a contextual background for exploring fundamental biogeographic patterns such as vegetation boundaries, species diversity gradients, and the geographical history of plants. This knowledge has further contributed to the development of such important scientific concepts as natural selection, community succession, and environmental change.

    The goal of this chapter is to summarize the ideas...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Mountain Wildlife
    (pp. 221-252)
    LARRY W. PRICE and VALERIUS GEIST

    The study of mountain animals is somewhat more difficult than the study of vegetation. Animals are mobile and may be hard to follow because of broken topography, dangerous weather, or sheer inaccessibility due to distance, terrain, and logistical problems—national bureaucracies included. The firmly rooted plants can be more easily studied and their distribution mapped. This is possible with animals only through year-round observations, often under trying circumstances. Animal distribution is complicated by daily or seasonal migrations. Moreover, their seasonal home ranges, breeding areas, and migration routes may be widely dispersed. Some are full-time residents; others are part-time residents, temporary...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Attitudes toward Mountains
    (pp. 253-266)
    EDWIN BERNBAUM and LARRY W. PRICE

    Mountains today are almost universally viewed with admiration and affection. Positive attitudes toward mountains have not, however, always been universal. During the Middle Ages and much of the Renaissance, many people in Europe, the English in particular, shunned mountain ranges such as the Alps as demonic, abhorrent places to avoid whenever possible (Nicholson 1959; Mathieu 2006). However, earlier Europeans, such as the Celts and the Greeks, revered hills and mountains as divine palaces and abodes of deities whom they looked up to and worshipped (Bernbaum 1997). Positive attitudes have had a longer continuous history in other parts of the world,...

  16. CHAPTER TEN People in the Mountains
    (pp. 267-300)
    JAMES S. GARDNER, ROBERT E. RHOADES and CHRISTOPH STADEL

    Many people have traveled to and through, settled in, moved from, and used mountain areas for a very long period of time. They may have been driven to the mountains seeking refuge from persecution elsewhere and, in the process, founded rich agriculturally based societies. They may have been pulled to the mountains in search of food and other resources, or they may have been attracted for spiritual purposes, as discussed in Chapter 9. They may have explored for ways through the mountains in search of more land and better livelihoods. They may have been driven to or from the mountains...

  17. CHAPTER ELEVEN Agricultural Settlement and Land Use in Mountains
    (pp. 301-332)
    STEPHEN F. CUNHA and LARRY W. PRICE

    Mountains pose distinctive problems for human settlement and land use. The vast corn and wheat fields blanketing gentler topography, such as the American Midwest and Argentine Pampas, are absent here. In their place is a more intricate pattern of crops and animal husbandry that reflects adaptation to vertically compressed environments. The differences are especially sharp between high and low elevation, and the windward versus leeward mountain slopes. Moreover, farmers and herders trying to use mountain land sustainably in this active geomorphic environment engage in a relentless struggle against gravity. After keeping soil, water, and nutrients in position, they must contend...

  18. CHAPTER TWELVE Sustainable Mountain Development
    (pp. 333-366)
    MARTIN F. PRICE and THOMAS KOHLER

    The global importance of mountain regions has been increasingly recognized in recent years, particularly since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (Ives et al. 1997b; Sène and McGuire 1997; Price and Messerli 2002; Debarbieux and Price 2008). At this meeting, the heads of state or government of most of the worldʹs nations signed Agenda 21, a plan for action into the twenty-first century or, more colloquially, ʺa blueprint for sustainable developmentʺ (Lindner 1997: 4). Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 is entitled ʺManaging Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development,ʺ and includes two...

  19. INDEX
    (pp. 367-378)