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Geographers track environmental changes in the Andes

Alan Flurry

Geography faculty members have written and published extensively on the mountain ecology of the Ecuadorian Andes. Our colleagues in the Office of Research share a slideshow from their work investigating changes in freshwater availability and agricultural sustainability due to climate change, with important cultural and economic implications for the region:

In September 2023, researchers from the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geography traveled to collaborate with local Ecuadorian scientists on an investigation of past environmental conditions in the nearby Andes Mountains. Their goal was to assess regional hydroclimatic variability—changes through time not only in weather and climate, but also the associated ecology and water resources. the work is a component of a formal collaboration between UGA and Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo (ESPOCH), a science and engineering university in Riobamba, Ecuador.

Geography Professor David Porinchu led the team in collecting sediment and water samples from two lakes within Sangay National Park, providing a snapshot of regional hydroclimatic conditions over the past 5,000 years. Paleoenvironmental records such as sediment cores—like the 30-foot core extracted from Laguna Kuyuk—provide scientists and resource managers with information from a wider range of conditions and scenarios than is available from modern data alone.

Continue reading (and enjoy the wonderful images)...

Image: Volcán Chimborazo, a symbol of Ecuadorian pride, inactive for about 1,500 years

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