Physical Geography in Environmental Science

2019 AAG Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, April 3-7, 2019

Deepwater Horizon beach cleanup (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

The Theme intends to bring together environmental geographers, earth and environmental scientists, scholars, educators, and policy makers from diverse sectors to present and consider how AAG and Physical Geography contribute to Environmental Science, Security, Health, Resilience, and Sustainability.  This theme encourages sharing ideas, technologies, case studies, innovations, and networking for problem solving at spatial scales ranging from local to global relating to one or more areas of environmental science. This theme is intended to highlight Geography’s participation, contributions, and impacts in Environmental Science and Policy, in the national and international spotlight of Washington DC.

We encourage broad participation from all geographers, other environmental, GIScience, social, communications, and humanities researchers, policy makers, and stakeholders concerned with the intersection of geography and the environment at the AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 3-7, 2019.

Papers on all aspects of Physical Geography as Environmental Science are welcome. New abstracts and Sessions may select this theme upon submission. Posters welcome! If you have already submitted an abstract or session and would like to be considered to join this theme, please feel free to contact us via and share your name, submitted session or abstract title, and AAG abstract PIN.

Burning debris and scattered garbage (plastic), polluting the environment. (Jaskaran Singh)Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Climate Change
  • Water and Air Quality
  • Biogeography
  • Ecology
  • Wetlands
  • Coastal Zones and Ocean Science
  • Environmental GIScience
  • Sustainability and Resilience
  • Conservation
  • Natural Resources Policy
  • Geoparks and Geoheritage
  • Natural Hazards
  • Human and Environment Complexity
  • The Critical Zone
  • Critical Physical Geography
  • Environmental Security
  • Environmental Health
  • Paleoecology
  • Hydrology and Water Resources
  • Soils
  • Agriculture
  • Environmental Geomorphology
  • The Anthropocene
  • Human Impacts on the Environment
  • Human Dimensions of Global and Environmental Change
  • Environmental Justice
  • Human-Wildlands Interface
  • Fire Ecology
  • The Field Research Tradition
  • Innovations in Environmental Laboratory Techniques
  • Transboundary Environmental Issues and Management

For more information, please contact members of the Theme organizing committee at

Organizing Committee:

Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, University of Texas at Austin, Co-Chair

Timothy Beach, University of Texas at Austin, Co-Chair

George Malanson, University of Iowa, Co-Chair

Deborah Thomas, University of North Carolina Charlotte Co-Chair


Browse the Session Schedule

Highlighted Sessions

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Physical geography contributes, retrospect and prospect
4:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Marshall East, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Physical geography can make a difference. The current and four past AAG presidents will reflect on how physical geography has affected individuals and society and will identify where it can contribute in the future. The panel will assess both direct and indirect effects, important impacts for the discipline and personal projects, and differences made at local to global scale.

Physical geography often seems concerned with the details within and among its component fields of biogeography, climatology, geomorphology, and hydrology, but as argued in The Composite Nature of Physical Geography (Progress in Physical Geography 38: 3-18, 2014) these potentially disparate concerns are held together in Geography by their connections to human concerns. Organized by editors for Progress in Physical Geography, the panel directly addresses the aims of the AAG Third Special Theme, Physical Geography in Environmental Science, in focusing on “participation, contributions, and impact.” The panel will form the basis for a statement by the panelists on impactful physical geography, past and future.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

New Records of Paleoenvironmental Change 1- 4
8:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Reconstructing past environments from proxy records is an important tool for addressing long-term environmental change. The current global context of increased air and sea temperatures, increases in the frequency and intensity of large-scale natural disasters, and the location of large populations in vulnerable areas highlights the importance of accessing proxy records that extend the baseline of environmental information beyond historical records.

This session will cover a wide range of topics from around the globe that explore the drivers and patterns of climate and environmental change over long and short timescales. Presenters will discuss new records of natural and anthropogenic environmental change in research including, but not limited to: paleoclimatology, paleoecology, paleolimnology, palynology, fire history, climate modelling, geochemistry, and archaeology.

Annual Distinguished Geomorphology and Society Lecture Series
3:05 PM - 4:45 PM
Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level

Dr. Heather Viles, Professor of Biogeomorphology and Heritage Conservation and Head, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK will present a lecture titled: Biogeomorphology and resilience in the Anthropocene

Friday, April 5, 2019

Wetlands and Watersheds in the Anthropocene: a Geomorphological and Geoecological Approach, I and II
3:05 PM - 6:40 PM
Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Wetlands and watersheds are key and threatened components of landscapes across the globe. Sustainable wetland and watershed management is essential for maintaining the many ecosystem services we rely upon, such as flood protection and water filtration, yet we continue to strain the resources remaining. The geomorphology and geoecology of these systems were once limited areas of study, but are now growing disciplines that geographers should embrace to meet the challenges of the Anthropocene. This session invites participants who study wetlands in their watershed context from the perspectives of geomorphology and hydrology. Topics within this session include the natural development and human use and modification of watersheds, the current state of these systems in regards to degradation and restoration, nutrient cycling, processes from source to sink, ecological changes, and the role of these dynamic systems for climate relevant gasses. These subjects enhance our understanding of the direct and indirect benefits of wetlands and watersheds and are synthesized with ongoing research on watershed and wetland ecology, restoration, and long-term environmental change.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Dendrochronology III: Frontiers in Dendrochronology (Invited)
1:10 PM - 2:50 PM
Marshall East, Marriott, Mezzanine Level

In this invited session on dendrochonology, researchers will present their work on the forefront of tree-ring applications to climate reconstruction, ecology, and ecosystem modeling.

Historical Perspectives of Human Impacts on the Environment
1:10 PM - 2:50 PM
Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level