Ecosystems

, Volume 7, Issue 8, pp 815–828 | Cite as

Modeling Sustainability of Arctic Communities: An Interdisciplinary Collaboration of Researchers and Local Knowledge Holders

  • Jack A. Kruse
  • Robert G. White
  • Howard E. Epstein
  • Billy Archie
  • Matt Berman
  • Stephen R. Braund
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • Johnny CharlieSr.
  • Colin J. Daniel
  • Joan Eamer
  • Nick Flanders
  • Brad Griffith
  • Sharman Haley
  • Lee Huskey
  • Bernice Joseph
  • David R. Klein
  • Gary P. Kofinas
  • Stephanie M. Martin
  • Stephen M. Murphy
  • William Nebesky
  • Craig Nicolson
  • Don E. Russell
  • Joe Tetlichi
  • Arlon Tussing
  • Marilyn D. Walker
  • Oran R. Young
Article

Abstract

How will climate change affect the sustainability of Arctic villages over the next 40 years? This question motivated a collaboration of 23 researchers and four Arctic communities (Old Crow, Yukon Territory, Canada; Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Canada; Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, Canada; and Arctic Village, Alaska, USA) in or near the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. We drew on existing research and local knowledge to examine potential effects of climate change, petroleum development, tourism, and government spending cutbacks on the sustainability of four Arctic villages. We used data across eight disciplines to develop an Arctic Community Synthesis Model and a Web-based, interactive Possible Futures Model. Results suggested that climate warming will increase vegetation biomass within the herd’s summer range. However, despite forage increasing, the herd was projected as likely to decline with a warming climate because of increased insect harassment in the summer and potentially greater winter snow depths. There was a strong negative correlation between hypothetical, development-induced displacement of cows and calves from utilized calving grounds and calf survival during June. The results suggested that climate warming coupled with petroleum development would cause a decline in caribou harvest by local communities. Because the Synthesis Model inherits uncertainties associated with each component model, sensitivity analysis is required. Scientists and stakeholders agreed that (1) although simulation models are incomplete abstractions of the real world, they helped bring scientific and community knowledge together, and (2) relationships established across disciplines and between scientists and communities were a valuable outcome of the study. Additional project materials, including the Web-based Possible Futures Model, are available at http://www.taiga.net/sustain.

Keywords

Alaska Arctic tundra vegetation Canada caribou climate change indigenous communities integrated assessment local knowledge petroleum development sustainability tourism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack A. Kruse
    • 1
  • Robert G. White
    • 2
  • Howard E. Epstein
    • 3
  • Billy Archie
    • 4
  • Matt Berman
    • 5
  • Stephen R. Braund
    • 6
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 2
  • Johnny CharlieSr.
    • 7
  • Colin J. Daniel
    • 8
  • Joan Eamer
    • 9
  • Nick Flanders
    • 10
  • Brad Griffith
    • 11
  • Sharman Haley
    • 5
  • Lee Huskey
    • 5
  • Bernice Joseph
    • 12
  • David R. Klein
    • 2
  • Gary P. Kofinas
    • 2
  • Stephanie M. Martin
    • 5
  • Stephen M. Murphy
    • 13
  • William Nebesky
    • 14
  • Craig Nicolson
    • 15
  • Don E. Russell
    • 9
  • Joe Tetlichi
  • Arlon Tussing
    • 16
  • Marilyn D. Walker
    • 17
  • Oran R. Young
    • 10
  1. 1.Institute of Social and Economic ResearchUniversity of Alaska AnchorageLeverettUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Inuvialuit Hunters & Trappers CommitteeAklavikCanada
  5. 5.Institute of Social and Economic ResearchUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  6. 6.Stephen R. Braund and AssociatesAnchorageUSA
  7. 7.Ft. McPhersonNorthwest TerritoriesCanada
  8. 8.ESSA Technologies Ltd.OttawaCanada
  9. 9.Canadian Wildlife ServiceWhitehorse, YukonCanada
  10. 10.Institute of Arctic StudiesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  11. 11.US Geological Survey, Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  12. 12.College of Rural AlaskaUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  13. 13.ABR, Inc.FairbanksUSA
  14. 14.Alaska Division of Oil and GasAnchorageUSA
  15. 15.Department of Natural Resources ConservationUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  16. 16.Institute of Social & Economic Research, University of Alaska AnchorageMercer IslandUSA
  17. 17.Institute for Northern Forestry Cooperative Research UnitUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks, AlaskaFairbanksUSA

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