Critical biogeography of mountains: towards a biocultural landscape frontier of montology

Mountains have remained stronger targets of geographical enquiry than most other landforms. Whether physical edifices, cultural manipulations on slopelands, or even metaphorical ethical and spiritual heights, many angles of mountain research have informed current narratives of global environmental change. In this paper we review how Mountain Geography as a disciplinary field has developed through stages of shifting geographic paradigms, from the Humboldtian to the sustainability paradigm at present. We propose advancing theoretical frameworks for mountain research by analyzing contributions of critical biogeography on integration of biocultural heritage and biodiversity conservation narratives of nature—culture hybrids, and how bridging sciences and humanities enlightens the development of geographical enquiry on the Americas. In all these sites biocultural frameworks of original research guide the understanding and agency of biocultural mountain landscape dynamics. With situated exemplars from wild edible plants, medicinal plants, sacred trees, agrifoodstuff, ritualistic plants, terrestrial and marine mammals, birds and amphibians, we seek to convey the need for a cohesive understanding of mountains as both biocultural and social—ecological systems. The transdisciplinary field of Montology deserves integration to engage future geographers and interdisciplinary researchers in assessments for resource protection, food sovereignty, and sustainable development of fragile biocultural and social—ecological mountain systems throughout the Americas
Critical biogeography, Montology, Sociobiology, Mountain lifescapes, Biocultural landscape, Americas, Andes