Kenneth R. Young

Faculty Research AssociatePh.D., University of Colorado at Boulder

Professor of Geography and the Environment
Kenneth R. Young


  • Phone: 512.232.8311
  • Office: CLA 3.422
  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: A3100


Kenneth Young's Ph.D. is from the Department of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder. Previously he obtained a M.S. in botany (University of Florida) and a B.S. in ecology, ethology, and evolution (University of Illinois). He has spent extended periods in tropical countries, including research in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru, in addition to U.S. Peace Corps service in Guatemala. He came to the University of Texas in 2000, after being an assistant and associate professor in the University of Maryland Baltimore County for seven years.

Young teaches a wide range of courses in physical geography and human-environment interactions, including Biogeography, Climate Change, Comparative Ecosystems, Landscape Ecology, and the Natural Environment. He regularly teaches a topics graduate seminar in Biodiversity Conservation.

Kenneth Young does policy-relevant research that informs biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. He does this by linking biogeography and landscape ecology to questions of ecosystem dynamics and aspects of global environmental and socioeconomic change. He has worked in natural and utilized landscapes in tropical areas and aspires to understand the global tropics, especially as affected by humans. He studies protected areas in relation to conservation biology, to climate change, and to land use. Most recently he has been splitting his research efforts between high Andean landscapes and the tropical forests and floodplains of the western Amazon.

Selected Publications

A. G. Ponette-González, H. A. Ewing, M. Fry, and K. R. Young. 2016. Soil and fine root chemistry at a tropical Andean timberline. Catena 137: 350-359.

M. Fry, A. G. Ponette-González, and K. R. Young. 2015. A low-cost GPS-based protocol to create high-resolution digital elevation models for remote mountain areas. Mountain Research and Development 35: 39-48.

A. G. Ponette-González, K. A. Brauman, E. Marín-Spiotta, K. A. Farley, K. C. Weathers, K. R. Young, and L. M. Curran. 2015. Managing water services in tropical regions: From land cover proxies to hydrologic fluxes. Ambio 44: 367-375.

H. ter Steege et al. Estimating the global conservation status of over 15,000 Amazonian tree species. Science Advances 2015;1:e1500936

K. R. Young. 2015. Biogeography of the Anthropocene: Domestication. Progress in Physical Geography 40: 161-174.

K. R. Young. 2015. Range shifts are part of domestication. Frontiers of Biogeography 7: 177-178.

K. R. Young. 2015. Ecosystem change in high tropical mountains. Pp. 227-246 in C. Huggel, M. Carey, J. Clague & A. Kääb (eds.), The High-Mountain Cryosphere: Environmental Changes and Human Risks. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Carey, M., M. Baraer, B. G. Mark, A. French, J. Bury, K. R. Young, and J. M. McKenzie. 2014. Toward hydro-social modeling: Merging human variables and the social sciences with climate-glacier runoff models (Santa River, Peru). Journal of Hydrology 518: 60-70.

Pomara, L.Y., K. Ruokolainen, and K.R. Young. 2014. Avian species composition across the Amazon River: The roles of dispersal limitation and environmental heterogeneity. Journal of Biogeography 41: 784-796.

Ponette-González, A.G., E. Marín-Spiotta, K.A. Brauman, K.A. Farley, K.C. Weathers, and K.R. Young. 2014. Hydrologic connectivity in the high-elevation tropics: Heterogeneous responses to land change. BioScience 64: 92-104.

Pos, E. et al. 2014. Are all species necessary to reveal ecologically important patterns? Ecology and Evolution 4: 4626-4636.

Shinn, J. E., B. King, K. R. Young, and K. A. Crews. 2014. Variable adaptations: Micro-politics of environmental displacement in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Geoforum 57: 21-29.

Wrathall, D.J., J. Bury, M. Carey, B. Mark, J. McKenzie, K. Young, M. Baraer, A. French, and C. Rampini. 2014. Migration amidst climate rigidity traps: Resource politics and socio-ecological possibilism in Honduras and Peru. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104: 292-304.

Young, K. R. 2014. Research and activism on extractive industries: Visualizing the cryptic. Applied Geography 54: 283-284.

Young, K. R. 2014. Biogeography of the Anthropocene: Novel species assemblages. Progress in Physical Geography 38: 664-673.

Bury, J., B.G. Mark, M. Carey, K.R. Young, J. McKenzie, M. Baraer, A. French, and M.H. Polk. 2013. New geographies of water and climate change in Peru: Coupled natural and social transformations in the Santa River watershed. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103: 363-374.

Crews, K.A. and K.R. Young. 2013. Forefronting the socio-ecological in savanna landscapes through their spatial and temporal contingencies. Land 2013, 2(3): 452-471.

León, B., C.J. Rothfels, M. Arakaki, K.R. Young, and K.M. Pryer. 2013. Revealing a cryptic fern distribution through DNA sequencing: Pityrogramma trifoliata in the western Andes of Peru. American Fern Journal 103: 40-48.

Montoya, M. and K.R. Young. 2013. Sustainability of natural resource use for an Amazonian indigenous group. Regional Environmental Change 13: 1273-1286.

Postigo, J. C., M. Montoya, and K. R. Young. 2013. Natural resources in the subsoil and social conflicts on the surface:  Perspectives on Peru’s subsurface political ecology. Pp. 223-240 in A. J. Bebbington and J. T. Bury (eds.). Subterranean Struggles: New Geographies of Extractive Industries in Latin America. University of Texas Press, Austin.

ter Steege, H. et al. 2013. Hyperdominance in the Amazonian tree flora. Science 342, DOI: 10.1126/science.1243092

Young, K. R. 2013. Change in tropical landscapes: Implications for health and livelihoods. Pp. 55-72 in B. H. King & K. A. Crews (eds.). Ecologies and Politics of Health. Routledge, New York.

Pomara, L.Y., K. Ruokolainen, H. Tuomisto, and K.R. Young. 2012. Avian composition co-varies with floristic composition and soil nutrient concentration in Amazonian upland forests. Biotropica 44: 545-553.

Young, K.R. 2009. Andean land use and biodiversity: Humanized landscapes in a time of change. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 96, 492-507.

Sarkar, S., K. A. Crews-Meyer, K. R. Young, C. D. Kelley, and A. Moffett. 2009. A dynamic graph automata approach to modeling landscape change in the Andes and the Amazon. Environment and Planning B, Planning and Design 36, 300-318.

Young, K.R.  and B. León. 2009. Natural hazards in Peru: Causation and vulnerability. In E. Latrubesse (ed.). Natural Hazards and and Human-Exacerbated Disasters in South America. Developments in Earth Surface Processes Series. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Young, K.R. 2008. Stasis and flux in long-inhabited locales: Change in rural Andean landscapes. Pp. 11-32 in A. Millington and W. Jepson (eds.). Land-Change Science in the Tropics: Changing Agricultural Landscapes. Springer, New York, NY.

Postigo, J., K. R. Young, and K. A. Crews. 2008. Change and continuity in a pastoralist community in the high Peruvian Andes. Human Ecology 36: 535-551.

McCleary, A.L., K. A. Crews-Meyer, and K. R. Young. 2007. Refining forest classifications in the western Amazon using an intra-annual multi-temporal approach. International Journal of Remote Sensing 29: 991-1006.

la Torre-Cuadros, M. de los Angeles, S. Herrando-Pérez, and K. R. Young. 2007. Diversity and structural patterns for tropical montane and premontane forests of central Peru, with an assessment of the use of higher-taxon surrogacy. Biodiversity and Conservation 16: 2965-2988.

Peralvo, M. R. Sierra, K. R. Young, and C. Ulloa Ulloa. 2007. Identification of biodiversity conservation priorities using predictive modeling: An application for the equatorial Pacific region of South America. Biodiversity and Conservation 16: 2649-2675.

Young, K.R. 2007. Causality of current environmental change in tropical landscapes. Geography Compass 1: 1299-1314.

Veblen, T.T., K.R. Young, and A.R. Orme, Editors. 2007. The Physical Geography of South America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Young, K.R. and B. Leon. 2007. Tree-line changes along the Andes: Implications of spatial patterns and dynamics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 362, 263-272.

Kintz, D.B., K. R. Young, and K. A. Crews-Meyer. 2006. Implications of land use/land cover change in the buffer zone of a national park in the tropical Andes. Environmental Management 38: 238-252.

Young, K.R. and R.J. Aspinall. 2006. Kalaidoscoping landscapes, shifting perspectives. The Professional Geographer 58, 436-447.

Young, K.R.
and K.A. Crews-Meyer. 2006. Guest editors of Focus section on Landscape Form, Process, and Function: Coalescing Geographic Frontiers. The Professional Geographer 58, 367-447.

Young, K.R. and J.K. Lipton. 2006. Adaptive governance and climate change in the tropical highlands of western South America. Climatic Change 78, 63-102.

Bush, M.B., B.C.S. Hansen, D.T. Rodbell, G.O. Seltzer, K.R. Young, B. Leon, M.B. Abbott, M.R. Silman, and W.D. Gosling. 2005. A 17,000-year history of Andean climate and vegetation change from Laguna de Chochos, Peru. Journal of Quaternary Science 20, 703-714.

Polk, M.H., K.R. Young and K.A. Crews-Meyer. 2005. Biodiversity conservation implications of landscape change in an urbanizing desert of southwestern Peru. Urban Ecosystems 8, 313-334.

Young, K.R. 2003. Genes and biogeographers: Incorporating a genetic perspective into biogeographical research. Physical Geography 24, 447-466.

Young, K.R., C. Ulloa Ulloa, J.L. Luteyn and S. Knapp. 2002. Guest Editors for Plant Evolution and Endemism in Andean South America. Botanical Review 68, 1-188.

Zimmerer, K.S. and K.R. Young, Editors. 1998. Nature's Geography: New Lessons for Conservation in Developing Countries. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Curriculum Vitae

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