Karl Zimmerer is Miller Professor of Environment and Society Geography and is in the Ecology and Rural Sociology programs at Pennsylvania State University. He directs the GeoSyntheSES lab (https://zimmerergeosyntheses.psu.edu/). Karl is focused on the environmental and societal roles of agrobiodiversity in the transformative resilience, sustainability, and justice and sovereignty of food systems, land use, and seed and knowledge networks among diverse stakeholders. Karl’s current research is addressing climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, urbanization and multi-landscape interactions, indigenous-smallholder-farm worker networks, food and nutrition security, and agrobiodiversity and agroecological models utilizing telecoupling and FEWS approaches.
Karl utilizes new integrations of environmental sciences, social sciences, and spatial techniques with models and theory in political ecology and social-ecological systems. He and his collaborators are incorporating landscape, territorial, social movement, and cultural and historical approaches in projects in Peru, Bolivia, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Vietnam, and the U.S. Recently, Karl has published the book Agrobiodiversity: Integrating Knowledge for a Sustainable Future (2019, MIT Press) and articles in 2019 and 2020 in Food Security, Anthropocene, J. Latin American Geography, Global Change Biology, J. Nutrition, Land Use Policy, International J. Agricultural Sustainability, Geoforum, ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, Current Opinion in Sustainability, and Issues in Science and Technology. Karl has published seven books and more than 140 articles, book chapters, and reviews.
Karl teaches undergraduate courses and graduate seminars on the environment-society and interdisciplinary geographic analysis of resource use, sustainability, and justice issues. Currently, he teaches the introductory "Future of Food" and "Freshmen Seminar" and intermediate "Human Use of the Environment" and "Food, the Environment, and Society." Karl’s teaching experience centers on six undergraduate Environment and Society courses across a spectrum of topics. Karl has served as head of the Geography department at Penn State (2007–2014), chair and associate chair at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and in wide-ranging national and international committees and organizations and diverse editorships. Karl has received AAAS, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller fellow recognition, Penn State’s Medal for Outstanding Research in the Social Sciences, and awards from the American Geographical Society and sub-groups on Latin America, Biogeography, and Cultural and Political Ecology of the American Association of Geographers.