Department of Geography and the Environment

Research Spotlight: Dr. Kenneth Young

Mon, November 18, 2013
Research Spotlight: Dr. Kenneth Young

The High Mountain Partnership (HiMAP) hosted its third international conference in Huaraz, Peru in summer 2013. Our own  Dr. Kenneth Young gave the keynote speech, “Climate Change, People, and Mountains” (view transcript), and graduate student Molly Polk led a field module on mountain mire ecology (view handout). The workshop consisted of research presentations, fieldwork training modules, and a three-day field visit to Palcacocha Lake to see first-hand an ongoing glacial lake management project.

Through the USAID-supported partnership, Peru and Nepal are addressing the impacts and risks of rapidly melting glaciers in high mountain areas. The HiMAP brings scientists, governments officials, and local people together to share lessons learned on managing high-risk, high-impact floods caused by rapidly melting glaciers. Visit the website to learn more about USAID’s work in climate change and promotion of development based on climate-smart planning and clean technologies.



A beautiful 10-minute video of the workshop was created during the HiMAP workshop by Skyship Films, which specializes in highly mobile field photography and documentary, telling stories to shape a better world. This film shows what happened when locals from Nepal, Peru and Central Asia met with international scientists and engineers to collaborate on how to adapt to melting glaciers.

Dr. Young studies protected areas in relation to conservation biology, to climate change, and to land use. Most recently he has been splitting his research efforts between high Andean landscapes and the tropical forests and floodplains of the western Amazon.


Molly Polk serves as Graduate Research Assistant to Dr. Young, who also serves as her advisor. Current research is funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant and the Austin branch of the American Association of University Women. For more information about their research, please visit the Department of Geography and the Environment website.




1. Peru Climate Workshop video- Dr. Young
2. Field work- Dr. Young
3. Peru Climate Workshop video- Molly Polk
4. Molly Polk, Nicholas Montoya, Dr. Young

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  • Department of Geography and the Environment

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