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Professor of Geography, Penn State

Karl Zimmerer is a geographer and environmental scientist whose research and teaching is focused on a group of interconnected topics centered on global human-environmental change. These interests concern the interaction of cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental dynamics in agriculture and resource use of developing and developed countries.

The first area of Karl's interests is the role and conservation of agrobiodiversity in complex agricultural landscapes containing local and regional food and consumption systems. Recently he is extending this research to frameworks of agrobiodiversity in global environmental change and governance.

Karl's second area of interest is the role of globalization in agriculture, rural livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. This research includes neoliberalizing policies and politics as well as other governmental, non-governmental, and citizen approaches including "spaces of hope" in conservation and sustainability.

The third of Karl's areas of interest is concerned with concepts and theory in human-environment and nature-society approaches to environmental studies. It also includes the historical experience and present-day development of spatial-environmental models and planning, particularly through interaction of the knowledge systems of ecological science and local and indigenous peoples. Karl is author of numerous articles and chapters, and his books and monographs include four publications, most recently Globalization and New Geographies of Conservation (2006, University of Chicago). He is active in various groups and organizations involved with agricultural, environmental, conservation, and globalization policies, serves as the Head of the Geography Department at the Pennsylvania State University and also edits the Nature-Society section of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.


  • –present
    Professor of Geography, Pennsylvania State University