- Editor’s Introduction
Volume 58-2 of Southeastern Geographer went to press shortly after the annual meetings of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in New Orleans. In anticipation of thousands of geographers converging on New Orleans, we produced two virtual issues of Southeastern Geographer, one on “Geographies of Louisiana”, and the other on the conference theme of “Black Geographies”. We arranged for free access through Project Muse for each of these issues through May 31, 2018, with standard subscription-based access after that date. We publicized the issues through email blasts, inclusion in the AAG Newsletter, and through UNC Press. Both virtual issues included papers published previously in Southeastern Geographer. By tracing engagements with race and racialization in the journal over time, the Black Geographies issue brings into focus seminal geographies of race that helped bring about the formal creation of Black geographies as a subfield of the discipline of Geography. The virtual issue on “Geographies of Louisiana” highlights the distinctive cultural history of the region, its ties to other parts of the southeastern US, and the political importance of the region. Each of the virtual issues, as well as all back issues of Southeastern Geographer, are available through ProjectMuse and are free through subscribing institutions.
The four papers in this issue are grounded in techniques and physical aspects of geography. Collectively, these papers contribute to the fields of dendrochronology by exploring bio-climatic signals from pines in developed areas, develop approaches to integrating geotagged tweets with remote sensing, assess potential of an-offshore region for wind energy development, and analyze spatial hot-spots of opioid-related mortality in North Carolina over the past 20 plus years.
Trees in developed areas have been under-utilized in dendrochronology because the bio-climatic signal is impacted by development. Yet trees in developed areas can still provide proxies for localized weather prior to instrument measurements of weather. Pines tend to be early colonizers on abandoned agricultural lands, and therefore may provide one of the longer bioclimatic signals in presently urbanized settings. Watkins and Patterson (this issue) investigate the bio-climatic sensitivity of short-leaf pine on a college campus and nearby cemetery—urbanized settings in which short-leaf pine is common and occur throughout the southeastern US. Annual tree-rings were still sensitive to bio-climatic signals, and the signals could be separated from developmental pressures affecting annual growth, albeit the site with less direct disturbance exhibited a stronger bio-climatic signal. [End Page 143]
Geotagged photos posted in real-time on social media sites may assist risk assessment and guide the practices of early responders. Real-time photos from “citizen scientists” provide a finer spatio-temporal resolution than remote sensing, yet lack standardization and reliability. Wang et al. (this issue) assesses geotagged photos posted on Twitter with remote sensing imagery and US Geological Survey gauges for water stage and flow during the historic flooding of Columbia, South Carolina caused by rainfall over several days in October 2015 associated with Hurricane Joaquin. While challenges of crowd-sourced data remain, including the challenge of accurate geo-location, Wang et al. suggest that on-the-ground photos from citizens may reliably augment remote sensing by providing finer scale details.
Wind-energy is a developing renewable energy source. Off-shore wind energy potential is thought to be more predictable than on-shore, yet the stability of the ocean floor to support the wind turbines and other infrastructure may be problematic, especially given the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes generating strong tidal influences on the sea floor. Anderson et al. (this issue) investigated the suitability of a coastal area of the southeastern US for wind-energy development using bathymetric surveying. Serendipitously, their field-collection was interrupted by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, which allowed them to assess the stability of the ocean-floor following a Category 1 to 2 hurricane. The study area, offshore from Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, exhibits suitable geomorphology for wind-energy development. Their bathy-metric techniques also identified cultural and natural resources relevant to selecting suitable sites.
The opioid epidemic has been generating headlines for a few years. However, the availability and types of...