Alpine Research

 Sherpa script on stones below Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam, Nepal

Sherpa script on stones below Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam, Nepal

Lead Researcher, Adaptation to glacio-hydrological change in high mountains

My doctoral research aims to 1) characterize and compare how select communities in the Nepal Himalaya and Peruvian Andes are experiencing and responding to changes in glacier hydrology and 2) to identify guiding principles for climate change adaptation plans that are attentive to both human well-being and ecological resilience. The project draws on insights from earth system science, theoretical work on climate change adaptation and socio-ecological systems, and the perspectives of residents in globally significant high mountain regions. It contributes to the advancement of mountain-focused climate change adaptation research, while also providing actionable recommendations for successfully navigating climate-related changes in mountain areas. Supervision is provided by Drs. Michele Koppes, Leila Harris, Kai Chan, and Martin Price (UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Mountain Development).

Lead Researcher, Systematic review of climate change adaptation in glaciated mountains

This study systematically assessed what is known about human adaptation to climate change in glaciated mountain regions. It utilized formal systematic review methods to examine the peer-reviewed English language literature and provided a clear assessment of the current state of knowledge (e.g. adaptation where, by whom, to what stressors, by what means, and with what effect). The study contributes to an emerging literature tracking on-the-ground adaptation processes and outcomes, and has helped to inform research/policy agendas for addressing key knowledge gaps. For example, study results were profiled at a mountain themed meeting for the development of post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals. I oversaw all aspects of these reviews, including study design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, and scholarly publications/presentations. I am currently leading a refined, expanded, and updated version of this review in support of the IPCC SROCC High Mountain Areas chapter.

Lead Researcher, The role of organizational cooperation in addressing landscape scale stressors          

This study examined how North American environmental management strategies are evolving in light of challenges posed by landscape-scale stressors (e.g. climate change and habitat fragmentation). It focused on a case study of the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GNLCC) and investigated how and to what extent the GNLCC, its partners, and other stakeholders are working together to overcome environmental, political, and jurisdictional challenges. I applied a novel social network analysis methodology and drew on political and biophysical sciences to make explicit the challenges and opportunities of organizational cooperation in addressing landscape-scale stressors in the Rocky Mountain region. I oversaw and conducted all aspects of this study.

Lead Researcher, The human dimensions of climate change in the Nepal Himalaya                      

This study was concerned with understanding the relationship between climate-related hydrological changes (e.g. glacial recession) and human well-being in the mountainous Khumbu region of Eastern Nepal. I conducted two months of high altitude community-based fieldwork, identified consequential vulnerabilities and their causes, and investigated vulnerability reducing options compatible with Khumbu’s unique socio-cultural conditions and limited economic capabilities. I oversaw and conducted all aspects of this study.