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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1851; doi:10.3390/su9101851

The Contribution of Physical Geographers to Sustainability Research

Department of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, Okanagan College, Kelowna, BC V1Y 4X8, Canada
Received: 2 July 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Geography and Environmental Sustainability)
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Abstract

A physical geographers’ scope of practice is not defined by any regulatory or academic organization, so perception of the potential contribution of physical geography to sustainability research has been nebulous or informal, at best. In order to understand what physical geographers can do to enhance sustainability, this paper describes a systematic review of peer-reviewed research on sustainability published in three physical geography journals. The results show that physical geographers are active in sustainability research in terms of a spatial perspective, an understanding of human interactions with the environment, and an ability to recognize, interpret, and project environmental change and its impacts. The depth of this understanding is facilitated by a physical geographers’ understanding of the natural world, process and system concepts, the ways that systems are linked and interact, and a willingness to deploy a wide range of methodologies to secure that knowledge. The expertise of physical geographers makes an important contribution to sustainability research and should be considered when multidisciplinary teams are assembled. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical geography; spatial; systems; science; anthropogenic; scale; remote sensing; natural hazards; water resources; urban/built environment; biodiversity; climate physical geography; spatial; systems; science; anthropogenic; scale; remote sensing; natural hazards; water resources; urban/built environment; biodiversity; climate
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Day, T. The Contribution of Physical Geographers to Sustainability Research. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1851.

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