1992 Volume 101 Issue 7 Pages 539-555
Many Japanese geographers know the great contribution of the late Carl Troll to mountain geoecology. However, it is not necessarily well known for Japanese geographers that the discipline has been developed by the U.S. geographers since the 1960s. This paper briefly examines roles of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) and the International Mountain Society (IMS) in the development of the discipline; and then, reviews the major studies conducted in the Colorado Front Range, Ecuadorian Andes and Nepal Himalaya.
The first stage of the development of mountain geoecology in the U.S. is characterized by basic studies which have been conducted mainly by the INSTAAR of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Mountain-geoecological studies have been regarded as one of the major activities for the INSTAAR since the institute's establishment in 1951. Numerous studies were carried out on Niwot Ridge, Colorado Front Range, at the foot of which the Mountain Research Station of the university is located. Most studies have emphasized physical aspects. The journal, Arctic and Alpine Research, which has been published by the INSTAAR, has carried many of such papers.
In the 1970 s the movement to establish a new academic society rose, and in 1980 the International Mountain Society (IMS) began to function in the University of Colorado, succeeded by the University of California, Davis, in 1990. The IMS, founded by Jack D. Ives, has been publishing the quarterly journal, Mountain Research and Development, since 1981, with the collaboration of the United Nations University, Tokyo. Among their main research field of their projects including Northern Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and Ethiopia, the main results from the Ecuadorian Andes and Nepal Himalaya were reviewed. These studies characterize the second, or today's, stage of mountain geoecology. That is, one of the major interests of mountain geoecological studies today centers upon human and physical interrelationships.
Recently, the Japanese mountain areas have been used extremely intensively, so that mountain geoecology is hoped to contribute to solve the problems of the mountain environments in Japan.