Science & Exploration
Integrated, Applied Field ResearchOur climate change, conservation, and sustainable development work has been based on integrated, applied field research. As The Mountain Institute’s Andes Program (1996 to 2020), we helped the organization’s Science and Exploration Program develop applied climate change and conservation research programs, higher education resource materials, international photo exhibits, and public presentations.
TMI’s Science and Exploration program also co-managed the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP), funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). HiMAP was initiated in March 2012 following the successful 2009 “Adapting to a World without Glaciers” workshop in Peru and the 2011 “Andean-Asian Mountains Global Knowledge Exchange on Glaciers, Glacial Lakes, Water & Hazard Management” in the Mt. Everest region of Nepal. Created and implemented by The Mountain Institute (TMI) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT), HiMAP has actively strengthened scientific, social, and institutional capacity for climate change adaptation and resilient development, along with disaster risk mitigation. A specific focus has been management of potentially dangerous glacial lakes and other climate-related disasters in glaciated regions of Peru, Nepal, and elsewhere in the high mountain world. The Partnership has implemented a series of innovative and inter-related activities, including:
- State of the art rapid reconnaissance methods for the evaluation of potentially dangerous glacial lakes. These have been developed and applied in Nepal and Peru, where they link the best of modern technologies with traditional on-the-ground field methods.
- South-south collaboration and exchanges. HiMAP has connected Asian and Andean countries with similar needs in climate adaptation and glacial risk management.
- Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPAs) for the Khumbu region of Nepal and the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. These local-scale climate-change adaptation plans are based on the principles of full community participation, climate smart development, ecosystem-based adaptation approaches, risk mitigation, and disaster management planning.
- A high mountain glacial watershed “community of practice.” The HiMAP community of practice is actively sharing knowledge internationally between high mountain scientists and practitioners, undertaking comparative analyses, implementing climate change adaptation projects, and influencing high mountain policy.
- A new generation of mountain-scientists. The young scientists supported by HiMAP are fluent in climate change and adaptation issues, field as well as laboratory methods, integrating traditional knowledge, active community engagement, and climate-smart development in high mountain glacial watersheds.
- A portfolio of peer reviewed and popular publications, videos, public, and professional presentations.
- Global awareness of the critical importance of high mountain glacial watersheds. Donors, international agencies, and governments are now more familiar with mountain issues thanks to HiMAP.
- An Everest Alliance. A collaborative organization of Khumbu residents and visitors has been initiated that will help solve the social and environmental problems of the Mt. Everest region—and later of other iconic mountains worldwide.