Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar: Alton C. Byers

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar

An Introduction to the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP)

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D.

Glaciated, high mountain regions of the world play a critical role in providing water and ecosystem services to large human populations living downstream – and climate change impacts are felt first and foremost in relation to water resources in these high altitude regions.  Reduced dry season flows, increasing threats from glacial lake outburst floods, and concerns about climate impacts on high mountain livelihoods and biodiversity provided the motivation for scientists, practitioners, and government officials to create the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP) in March, 2012, the first program of its kind to focus primarily on remote, high altitude mountain ecosystems and communities to develop innovative tools and practices for facilitating adaptation to climate change.  The presentation will provide an overview of HiMAP's experiences over the past two years in Nepal (Mt. Everest region) and Peru (Cordillera Blanca) in helping local people develop climate change adaptation plans; reduce the risk of potentially dangerous glacial lakes; promote a new generation of 'Climber-Scientists' fluent in both laboratory as well as traditional field skills; promote and expands a new HiMAP community of practice; and strengthen institutions and communities to leverage co-financing for adaptation project implementation.  Two short videos showing HiMAP's recent work in Nepal and Peru will accompany the powerpoint presentation by Alton C. Byers and John E. Harlin.

Biographical Sketch

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D., Co-Manager of the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership, is a mountain geographer, conservationist, and mountaineer specializing in applied research, high altitude ecosystems, climate change, and integrated conservation and development programs.  He received his doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1987, focusing on landscape change, soil erosion, and vegetation dynamics in the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, Khumbu, Nepal. He joined The Mountain Institute (TMI) in 1990 as Environmental Advisor, and has since worked as Co-Manager of the Makalu-Barun National Park (Nepal Programs), founder and Director of Andean Programs, Director of Appalachian Programs, and, since 2004, as Director of Science and Exploration.


Monday, February 10, 2014




  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public


ARC building, rm. 620 - 3100 Marine St. Boulder, CO 80309