Mountain research

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Human-environmental relations in the Peruvian Andes.
Andorra la Vella, a mountain state's capital in the Pyrenees.
Paro Taktsang, a Himalayan monastery in Buthan.

Mountain research, traditionally also known as orology[1] (from Greek oros ὄρος for 'mountain' and logos λόγος), is an inter- and transdisciplinary field of research that regionally concentrates on the earth's surface's part covered by mountain landscapes.


It is generally focusing on the description and explanation of the human-environmental relationship in (positive) and the sustainable development of (normative) mountain regions. Hence, mountain research is situated at the nexus of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Drawing on Alexander von Humboldt's work in the Andean realm, mountain geography and ecology are considered core areas of study; nevertheless important contributions are coming from anthropology, geology, economics, history or spatial planning. In sum, it applies an interdisciplinary and integrative regional approach comparable to polar research or coastal research.


Mountain research or orology—not to be confused with orography—, is sometimes denominated montology; a term that was already included into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002.[2] On the one hand, the term montology received criticism due to the mix of Latin (mōns, pl. montēs) and Greek (logos). On the other hand, however, this is also the—well accepted—case in several, already established disciplines such as glaciology or sociology.

Refereed journals[edit]

Further reading[edit]