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  • Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Annual Meeting October 16–19, 2019 Flagstaff, ArizonaAbstracts for Oral Presentations and Posters

Oral Presentation Abstracts

Heather R. Agnew,, California State University, Fullerton. "Oh! Well, That Makes Sense!": A Critical Take on Mapping the Opioid Epidemic in the United States. Maps depicting the scope and impact of drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths in the United States inspire a number of theories as to why the problem is occurring more intensely in some areas and not others. The problem appears worst in the former manufacturing areas and is equally bad in the Appalachian region. Themes of poverty and deindustrialization are at the root of studies on so-called "deaths of despair" where "cumulative disadvantage" drives increasing mortality rates among non-Hispanic whites, and educational attainment and under/unemployment structure poor health outcomes (Case and Deaton 2015, 2017). The trouble is, maps that visualize the phenomenon fuel speculation as to the causes of overdoses and overdose deaths in areas hardest hit. Often, this speculation is driven by geographic assumptions about populations and regions. These assumptions steer the researcher toward uncritical reasoning that ultimately asks, "What narrative makes sense for this place and others just like it?" Yet, rather than rely on assumptions drawn from mapped demographic data, I argue that an emphasis on institutions, or the lack thereof, has greater analytical purchase. Reflecting on maps in high-profile studies; interviews with public health stakeholders in drug-affected regions; and, data from the Commonwealth Fund, my project critiques policy and public health studies that rest upon recognizing clusters of population characteristics, rather than focusing on how the presence or absence of institutions in these locations plays a significant role in shaping public health outcomes.

Clark Akatiff,, Palo Alto, California. True or False: Is there a West Coast Geography that Is Distinct and Radical? The Case for True. It is submitted that geography, as an art and science, has evolved along the Pacific Coast of North America in a unique and innovative direction, especially in respect to radical geography. This is accounted for by three factors. First is the peripheral location of the Pacific coast in relationship to European and Asian cultural hearths; it is submitted that geographical determinants play a role in these matters. Secondly, the "schools" which developed in the great universities of the West are explored as exemplars. And finally, the powerful movements for preservation and liberation and the individuals who have exemplified these movements are visited. [End Page 180]

Gabriel Angulo,, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Raju Bista,, California State University, Dominguez Hills; and Parveen K. Chhetri,, California State University, Dominguez Hills. Tree-Ring Climate Response of Two Dominant Sub-Alpine Species (Fir and Birch) from Western Nepal. The fir (Abies spectabilis) and birch (Betula utilis) are the dominant species of the sub-alpine forest of the Nepal Himalayas. Studies have been carried out to understand the tree-ring growth patterns of fir and birch. However, no previous studies have been recorded from the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve (DHR), western Nepal. Therefore, a total of sixty tree-ring cores were collected from thirty trees (two for each species), at elevations ranging from 3,300 to 3,500 m along. Morphometric features such as the diameter at breast height (DBH), tree height, and canopy diameter were also collected. We applied standard dendrochronological procedure to prepare tree-ring cores. Visual cross-dating and the COFECHA statistical program were used to cross-check for any measurement errors. Cubic spline detrending methods in ARSTAN software were used for the standardization of ring width to remove non-climatic signals. Standard chronology generated by ARSTAN was used for analyzing the ring-width pattern and climate response analysis. We developed 131-year (1885–2015) and 205-year (1810–2015) chronology of fir and birch, respectably. Abies growth was mostly stable between 1930 and 1960 and begins to sharply fluctuate from 1960 to present, showing narrow rings in 1965, 1967–1973, and 1999–2001. No significant increase in birch growth has occurred in the past few decades. Rather, the chronology fluctuated with time, showing narrow...


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