David R. Butler

David R. Butler
Texas State University | TxSt · Department of Geography

Ph.D. in Geography, University of Kansas
I'm retired from university life, but I still serve as editor of "Annals of the American Association of Geographers".

About

320
Publications
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Introduction
David R. Butler is Regents' Professor Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography, Texas State University. David does research in Geomorphology and Biogeography. He is especially interested in zoogeomorphology.

Publications

Publications (320)
Article
Fieldwork has a long and honored tradition in mountain geomorphology, and justifiably so. Many features and processes present in mountains occur at fine to very fine spatial scales that simply do not lend themselves well to analyses via remote methods. The nature of the sampling of data in mountain environments also constrains the use of computatio...
Article
Dendrogeomorphology is the application of tree-ring analysis for the dating of geomorphic processes. Although defined elsewhere, Shroder (1978, 1980) provided the foundation and methodologies for den-drogeomorphology that continue to underpin the discipline more than 30 years after the publication of his research papers. His process-event-response...
Article
Many animals in the mountains of the western U.S.A. and elsewhere are geomorphically active. The spatial pattern and intensity of these impacts, associated with activities such as digging for food, burrowing for shelter, and damming of streams, may change as a result of climate change. Food sources utilized will be affected by processes such as mea...
Article
Uncounted millions of beaver ponds and dams existed in North America prior to European contact and colonization. These ponds acted as sediment traps that contained tens to hundreds of billions of cubic meters of sediment that would otherwise have passed through the fluvial system. Removal of beavers by overtrapping in the 16th–19th centuries severe...
Article
Trails are discussed as geomorphic entities and the geomorphic nature of mountain bike impacts is evaluated. This project documented landscape changes from inception of trail design until after three mountain bike races were completed. The research location was a short-track trail that was purpose-built for a small race series in Austin, TX. The ge...
Chapter
Grazing by wild and domesticated animals can have profound geomorphic impacts on the landscape and grazing by feral animals may also have substantial geomorphic impacts, although more research is needed in this area. Wild grazers, such as native ungulates including mountain goats and elk, are increasingly restricted in their range to nature preserv...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, bird populations are declining. This may be caused by human alterations of habitats formerly used by birds. Migratory birds show flexibility in resource use, however, a distinct move to a different habitat type demands investigation. The objective of this study is to understand the resources available to Barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) in...
Article
Full-text available
Fire hazard maps are a useful tool which help land managers with wildfire mitigation planning. These maps are used for predicting the likelihood of fire ignition, fire behavior and effects, and can be generated using different techniques. However, the relationship between fire hazard and the resulting burn severity has not been fully explored. This...
Article
Full-text available
Glacier mass variations are climate indicators. Therefore, it is essential to examine both winter and summer mass balance variability over a long period of time to address climate-related ice mass fluctuations. In this study, we analyze glacier mass balance components and hypsometric characteristics with respect to their interactions with local met...
Article
Detonation of nuclear explosives creates depressions and craters on the landscape that vary in size depending on whether the explosion was above or below ground and on the strength of the explosion. Nuclear explosions also produce radioactive glass particles first identified after the world's first nuclear explosion, at the Trinity Site in New Mexi...
Article
This special issue of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers is devoted to the Anthropocene, the period of unprecedented human impacts on Earth’s environmental systems. The articles contained in this special issue illustrate that geographers have a diverse perspective on what the Anthropocene is and represents. The articles also show...
Article
Fire hazard maps are a useful tool which help land managers with wildfire mitigation planning. These maps are used for predicting the likelihood of fire ignition, fire behavior and effects, and can be generated using different techniques. However, the relationship between fire hazard and the resulting burn severity has not been fully explored. This...
Chapter
Fossorial (burrowing) animals have a substantial impact on landforms and landform processes in both a direct and indirect manner. Perhaps the first notable research on fossorial animals in zoogeomorphology can be attributed to Charles Darwin's study of earthworms and their impact on soil characteristics. In this article, we examine a sample of anim...
Article
Full-text available
Glacial lake formations are currently being observed in the majority of glacierized mountains in the world. Given the ongoing climate change and population increase, studying glacier ice thickness and bed topography is a necessity for understanding the erosive power of glacier activity in the past and lake formation in the future. This study uses t...
Article
Antony R. "Tony" Orme passed away on 30 May 2020. Professor Orme was one of the US' most distinguished geomorphologists and physical geographers. This Classics Revisited piece honors the memory of Professor Tony Orme and examines his classic book Ireland, an outstanding example of a regional geography book with a strong foundation in physical geogr...
Article
Clarence King’s Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, based on exploration and mountaineering exploits undertaken in the 1860s and 1870s, is a somewhat forgotten piece of literature that is worthy of rediscovery. The book provides still-accurate general descriptions of the physical geography of the Sierra Nevada as well as Mount Shasta in the US sta...
Article
Glacier recession is a globally occurring trend. Although a rich body of work has documented glacial response to climate warming, few studies have assessed vegetation cover change in recently deglaciated areas, especially using geospatial technologies. Here, vegetation change at two glacier forefronts in Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A. was q...
Article
The recent publication of several books on the history and ecology of beavers ( Castor canadensis and Castor fiber) illustrates a renewed interest in the construction activities of beavers and their impacts on landscapes. Over one hundred years ago, two popular books on these same topics were published, In Beaver World and The Romance of the Beaver...
Article
Mountain plant communities are thought to be sensitive to climate change and, thus, able to reveal its effects sooner than others. The status as sentinels of two plant communities are reviewed. Alpine treeline ecotones and alpine vegetation have been observed to respond to climate change in recent decades. The treeline has moved upslope and alpine...
Article
Mountain plant communities are thought to be sensitive to climate change and, thus, able to reveal its effects sooner than others. The status as sentinels of two plant communities are reviewed. Alpine treeline ecotones and alpine vegetation have been observed to respond to climate change in recent decades. The treeline has moved upslope and alpine...
Article
Zoogeomorphology is the study of the effects of animals as geomorphic agents. Animals erode the landscape, transport sediment, and produce landforms through a variety of processes including burrowing, digging for food, mounding of sediments, trampling and chiseling the landscape, and by construction (in the case of beavers) of dams that impound wat...
Article
Glaciers, rock glaciers, and permafrost landforms store water within ice reserves in alpine and periglacial zones. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of northwestern Wyoming, U.S.A., these landforms charge the hydrological system through meltwater, which raises questions about the ecological impacts of these limited water reserves in a regime tre...
Article
Full-text available
Interest in the Anthropocene has risen dramatically and has been the subject of discussion in this journal. Decades prior to the current interest in the Anthropocene, the British geologist Robert Lionel Sherlock published his book Man as a Geological Agent: An Account of His Actions on Inanimate Nature (1922). In that book, Sherlock described the m...
Article
The impact of trampling on soils and vegetation by a mountain bike, a cyclocross bike, and a hiker were analyzed in a controlled experimental setting. A trampling grid was created so that each trampling agent was documented, with pass increments of 25, 75, 200, and 400 passes. Soil compaction data collected before and after showed that different tr...
Article
Full-text available
Interest in the Anthropocene has risen dramatically and has been the subject of discussion in this journal. Decades prior to the current interest in the Anthropocene, the British geologist Robert Lionel Sherlock published his book Man as a Geological Agent: An Account of His Actions on Inanimate Nature (1922). In that book, Sherlock described the m...
Article
Geomorphology plays a fundamental role in shaping and maintaining landscapes, as well as influencing the social and ecological systems that occupy and utilize these landscapes. In turn, social-ecological systems can have a profound influence on geomorphic forms and processes. These interactions highlight the tightly coupled nature of geomorphic sys...
Article
The Anthropocene embodies the concept of human impacts on the natural environment, but disagreements exist as to when to identify its inception/starting date. In this paper I illustrate that regardless of the proposed starting date of the Anthropocene, important zoogeomorphic impacts were initiated at each of these proposed starting dates. Humans h...
Article
Zoogeomorphology, the study of animals as geomorphic agents, has been largely overlooked in the context of resilience theory and biogeomorphic systems. In this paper, examples are provided of the interactions between external landscape disturbances and zoogeomorphological agents. We describe cases in which naturally occurring zoogeomorphological ag...
Article
Full-text available
Joseph Grinnell’s 1923 paper on the burrowing effects of pocket gophers is a classic in the literature of zoogeomorphology and ecology. It established the significance of gophers as agents of bioturbation, and provided quantitative data on the amount of sediment moved annually by them. Its citation in other classic bioturbation papers, and the cita...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic regions can be defined in many ways, including via physiography, historical development patterns, language, and culture. After broadly surveying different methods of regionalization and their influences on studies of the American West, this article uses a vernacular-mapping approach to: first, propose distinctive toponyms that are relati...
Poster
Full-text available
Here, I investigate the role of rock glaciers and related meltwater features in the Grand Teton, Wind River, and Gros Ventre mountain watersheds in northwestern Wyoming.
Article
As a youngster, science fiction and fantasy books describing “lost” civilizations inside the Earth fascinated me. Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan at the Earth's Core were both in my youthful library. Little did I know, when reading those books decades ago, that I would find my way back into the inte...
Article
As a youngster, science fiction and fantasy books describing “lost” civilizations inside the Earth fascinated me. Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan at the Earth's Core were both in my youthful library. Little did I know, when reading those books decades ago, that I would find my way back into the inte...
Article
Full-text available
Roderick Peattie’s book, Mountain Geography – A Critique and Field Study (1936), is a classic work that established a format for English-language books on the subject of mountain geography that largely persists to the present day. Peattie’s work was based primarily on an extended period of study in the mountains of western Europe. His book reflects...
Chapter
Full-text available
Abstract: Generalsystem(s)theorywasintroducedtogeomorphology inthemiddleofthetwentieth century.Sincethen,geomorphologistshaveregardedassemblagesoflandformsasgeomorphicsystems, with structural hierarchy, interactions between units and subunits, exchange of mass and energy with the surrounding environment, and change toward a steady state or equilibr...
Chapter
Abstract: Zoogeomorphology is the study of the effects of animals as geomorphic agents. Animals erode the landscape, transport sediment, and produce landforms through a variety of processes including burrowing, digging for food, mounding of sediments, trampling and chiseling the landscape, and by construction (in the case of beavers) of dams that i...
Chapter
Full-text available
Abstract: Landforms are recognizable topographic features on the surface of earth with a distinct shapeandpositioninthelandscape,localrelief,geologiccomposition,age,andprocessesofformation, maintenance, and change. During the early twentieth century, the term “physiography” was coined as a contraction of the words “physical geography,” and soon cam...
Chapter
Humans interact with animals in a variety of ways, whether the animal is domesticated or wild, or the interaction is intentional or accidental. Some of these interactions with animals can be hazardous to the human involved, by causing injury, disease, or damage to property. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of animal hazards, an...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the habitat affinities and associations of a species is important for understanding its ecology and spatial distribution. This study investigates the effects of environmental and spatial variables including location (north–south), proximity to the sea (coastal–inland), and physical soil properties (soil moisture, particle size, and soi...
Article
Full-text available
In 1925, then-Captain AW Stevens of the US Army Air Corps took low-angle, oblique aerial photographs of the spectacular landscape of Glacier National Park, Montana (USA). Two of those photographs, of astonishing clarity, were used in a US Geological Survey Professional Paper published in 1959, but were subsequently assigned to the US National Archi...
Article
Full-text available
Although climate has been shown to have a considerable influence on alpine forest dynamics, many fine-scale processes contribute to observable forest patterns. Disturbances created by burrowing mammals may provide conifer seedlings with refuge in previously inhospitable environments and may result in conifer invasion that is not directly associated...
Article
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One of the most prominent American geomorphologists, Neil E. Salisbury, passed away in May 2015. This paper examines his legacy in geomorphology over the course of his career, and hopefully will be seen as honoring his memory.
Article
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The unique landscapes of Texas presents a variety of natural hazards with which farmers contend. Vineyards in particular are especially vulnerable to these hazards. In its relatively short history, the Texas viticulture industry has experienced frequent crop losses as a result of one or a combination of natural hazards. Sometimes the losses could n...
Conference Paper
Debris flows are among the most rapid and dangerous geomorphologic processes in mountainous regions in the world. Because of their high mobility, they can easily affect channel paths and their surrounding environments. Urbanization in Iran is centralized and is expanding towards the surrounding mountains. This urban expansion is expanding the risk...
Article
Full-text available
The cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and the cave swallow (Petrochelidon fulva) both construct nests entirely out of mud and aggregate in large colonies (tens to thousands of nests) suggesting they can be considered as geomorphic agents. This study analyzes 16 swallow colonies to address the following three research questions: (1) What is t...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines published works in the related fields of zoogeomorphology, bio(pedo)turbation, and faunal(pedo)turbation. Using Google Scholar, we extracted widely cited works for each of these three terms and their derivations (e.g. bioturbation, biopedoturbation, biopedturbation). For each term, we graphed the number of publications per year,...
Article
This paper evaluates the geomorphic effects of fire on the alpine treeline ecotone and how those effects influence post-fire seedling establishment conditions. Forest fires are becoming more common in high elevations, and ecosystem responses in these areas are not well studied. Results indicated that burned areas experienced increased soil loss, co...
Article
The interaction between vegetation and fluvial processes leaves many possibilities for research. Since the publication in the early 1960s of the U.S. Geological Survey Professional Papers by R.S Sigafoos, numerous contributions in paleohydrology and riparian ecology have deepened the interaction between vegetation and fluvial geomorphology. In this...
Chapter
Biopedoturbation (spelled “biopedturbation” in British, Canadian, and Australian publications) is soil mixing by biological means (i.e., by animals, plants, and humans). Pedoturbation (or “pedturbation”), the mixing of soils, encompasses all forms of biopedoturbation as well as mixing by air, water, shrinking and swelling of clays, freeze-thaw acti...
Article
Full-text available
Isaiah Bowman's book Forest Physiography (1911), subtitled Physiography of the United States and Principles of Soils in Relation to Forestry, was the first regional physiography text in the USA. This paper briefly describes Bowman's background, the writing of the text, and its impact and legacy.
Article
Full-text available
Sediment depth and stream-flow data from 10 beaver ponds illustrate that beavers (Castor canadensis) considerably influence hydrogeomorphic processes in low-order stream systems of Glacier National Park (GNP), Montana. Beaver ponds clearly trap sediment, and the depth and volume of sediment substantially increase with dam age. Beaver impoundments a...
Article
Full-text available
Hazardous snow avalanches in Glacier National Park, Montana, are associated with a variety of meteorologic conditions: heavy snow; heavy snows followed by a rise in air temperature to above freezing; a rise in air temperature to above freezing, without precipitation; and rain in association with above-freezing air temperatures. Years of major, wide...
Article
Full-text available
Satellite imagery was used to map dramatic increases in area impounded by beaver activity between 1984 and 1993 in the Roanoke River floodplain of eastern North Carolina. The tenfold increase in beaver impoundment coincides with natural increases in beaver populations in North Carolina and the transfer of lands within the floodplain into conservati...
Article
Full-text available
Soil denudation studies in urban environments are infrequent in the geomorphic literature. Here we describe the amount of soil erosion associated with pedestrian and bicycle pathways on an American university campus. The amount of soil denudation from thirty pedestrian/bicycle paths on the campus of the University of North Carolina was determined b...
Article
Full-text available
Snow avalanches are a cold-season natural hazard in the Glacier National Park (GNP), Montana, region. They are responsible for the closure of critical transportation routes, property damage, and, on occasion, fatalities. This study examined local newspaper reports of avalanches during the period from 1949 to 1997 and found a tendency for El Niño ye...
Article
Full-text available
A calcium-rich paleosol, preserved on buried till and buried colluvial surfaces, was discovered at several locations in the central Lemhi Mountains. The strati-graphic and pedologic characteristics of the paleosol assign its formation to the Interglacial between the Pinedale and Bull Lake Glaciations, between about 127,000 and 50,000 years before p...
Article
Full-text available
Mean slope aspect and elevation were determined for Neoglacial rock glaciers and protalus ramparts in the southern Lemhi Mountains, Idaho. The earliest or Indian Basin stade was shown to have a more severe climate than the later Audubon and Gannett Peak stades. Because of their stronger dependence on microsite conditions, protalus rampart elevation...
Article
Full-text available
Glacial, periglacial, and palynologic evidence from a small valley in the Lemhi Mountains of eastern Idaho indicates that an early Holocene cold climatic episode occurred there approximately 8,000 years ago. A small glacial moraine marks the farthest downvalley point of advance during a previously unrecognized glacial stade in the area. Periglacial...
Article
Full-text available
The position of treeline has been attributed to climatic factors affecting trees, and some studies mention soils. No studies, however, examine treeline as a limit for tundra vegetation; the treeline is also the tundra-line. The position of treeline on an elevation gradient is examined in relation to soil fertility. Soils were sampled at 25 treeline...
Article
Full-text available
Over 150 debris flows in eastern Glacier National Park, Montana, were mapped from a combination of aerial photograph analysis and fieldwork, and categorized as to site characteristics that are suggestive of causal processes. The debris-flow sites were digitized and entered into an integrated geographic information system for subsequent analysis. Pr...
Chapter
The initial employment of tree rings in geomorphic studies was simply as a dating tool and rarely exploited other environmental information and records of damage contained within the tree. However, these unique, annually resolved, tree-ring records preserve valuable archives of past Earth-surface processes on timescales of decades to centuries. As...
Article
Hydrological and geomorphological processes are influenced by beaver (. Castor canadensis and C. fiber) activities in aquatic and semi-aquatic environments throughout much of North America, Eurasia, and the austral archipelago of Chile and Argentina. The main hydrologic signature of beaver activities varies with hydrogeomorphic setting - along conf...
Article
Fossorial animals have a substantial impact on landforms and landform processes in both a direct and indirect manner. Perhaps the first notable research on fossorial animals in zoogeomorphology can be attributed to Charles Darwin's study of earthworms and their impact on soil characteristics. In this chapter, we examine a sample of animals and prov...
Article
Zoogeomorphology is the study of the geomorphic effects of animals, ranging from small invertebrates to large vertebrates such as elephants and bison. It was not until the late twentieth century that geomorphologists began examining the geomorphological activities of, and resultant landform features created by, animals. Animals engage in a variety...
Article
Grazing by wild, feral, and domesticated animals can have profound geomorphic impacts on the landscape. Wild grazers, such as native ungulates including mountain goats and elk, are increasingly restricted in their range to nature preserves where their concentrated numbers produce severe localized erosion. Feral animals, such as wild horses and burr...
Article
Full-text available
Biogeomorphology and zoogeomorphology are subfields of the discipline of geomorphology, the study of landforms and land-forming processes. Biogeomorphology encompasses the study of the effects of plants and animals on the landscape, as well as how geomorphic processes (e.g., running water, glacial ice, wind, wave action, landslides, and mass moveme...
Article
Full-text available
Isaiah Bowman's book Forest Physiography (1911), subtitled Physiography of the United States and Principles of Soils in Relation to Forestry, was the first regional physiography text in the USA. This paper briefly describes Bowman's background, the writing of the text, and its impact and legacy.
Chapter
Hydrological and geomorphological processes are influenced by beaver (Castor canadensis and C. fiber) activities in aquatic and semi-aquatic environments throughout much of North America, Eurasia, and the austral archipelago of Chile and Argentina. The main hydrologic signature of beaver activities varies with hydrogeomorphic setting—along confined...
Article
Trees affected by mass movements record the evidence of geomorphic disturbance in the growth-ring series, and thereby provide a precise geochronological tool for the reconstruction of past activity of mass movement. The identification of past activity of processes was typically based on the presence of growth anomalies in affected trees and focused...
Article
The 42nd Annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium convened on October 21–23, 2011, in Mobile, Alabama, USA. The topic of the meeting was zoogeomorphology and ecosystem engineering. Speakers represented a variety of perspectives from the disciplines of geomorphology and ecology, and 21 posters were also presented covering a wide range of topics in...
Article
Full-text available
Many beaver ponds in the Rocky Mountains, that have been described in the literature, are in-channel ponds that are relatively small and short-lived. This paper describes floodplain beaver ponds on low-gradient deltas in glacial finger lakes in Glacier National Park, Montana. These ponds are distinctly larger, probably fed by hyporheic flow, and st...
Article
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IntroductionBackground The Study AreaPrevious Hazard Perception Research in Glacier National ParkExperiences with, and Knowledge of, Landslides in Glacier National ParkMapping of Historical Distribution of Hazardous Mass MovementsNPS Employees' Survey and ResultsVisitors Survey and ResultsConcluding RemarksAcknowledgementsAppendix 1 Survey Used in...
Chapter
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PROOFREADING The text content for your contribution is in final form when you receive proofs. Read proofs for accuracy and clarity, as well as for typographical errors, but please DO NOT REWRITE. Titles and headings should be checked carefully for spelling and capitalization. Please be sure that the correct typeface and size have been used to indic...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The alpine treeline ecotone supports a dynamic ecosystem that is juxtaposed between the alpine tundra and the subalpine forest. This study presents information from a multi-faceted perspective on the effects of fire on the alpine treeline ecotone. Very limited research has been performed on fire and treeline, and this...
Article
Full-text available
For over 100 years, mountain treelines have been the subject of varied research endeavors and remain a strong area of investigation. The purpose of this paper is to examine aspects of the epistemology of mountain treeline research-that is, to investigate how knowledge on treelines has been acquired and the changes in knowledge acquisition over time...