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"No fish, no nimat": Arctic social-ecological systems in the context of global change


Ksenofontov, Stanislav. "No fish, no nimat": Arctic social-ecological systems in the context of global change. 2018, University of Zurich, Faculty of Science.

Abstract

The Arctic is undergoing rapid transformations as a result of global change. Global change drivers significantly affect Arctic biodiversity as well as ecosystem functioning: climate change results in shifts of natural habitats of many animals and plants; land use and technological adaptation cause migration route changes of numerous animals; the expansion
of non-native species forces out native ones; and overexploitation brings about an extinction of many native species. Arctic indigenous and local communities are also dramatically affected by global change since they are highly dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services for food, economy and socio-cultural well-being. Moreover, the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities are challenged by socio-political as well as economic stresses and shocks.
This thesis aims to assess the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of the Arctic social-ecological systems. In doing so, the thesis examines indigenous and local knowledge of global change drivers and their effects on the social-ecological systems. Social-ecological systems represent complex interactions of humans and nature. In the case of accelerated
global change, the vulnerability of social-ecological systems may be increased and thus may compromise their sustainability. The thesis is based on two case study areas in the Arctic regions of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in North-Eastern Siberia, Russia, where indigenous (Eveny, Evenki, Sakha) and non-indigenous (Russian, Ukrainians etc.) community members have been interviewed. It employs a mixed methods approach: 34 qualitative in�depth interviews, participant observation, two focus group discussions and 204 quantitative standardized questionnaires have been carried out in four Arctic settlements.
The study has shown that Yakutian communities face multiple global change related stresses. These stresses significantly affect livelihoods of the indigenous and local communities as well as their traditional practices (hunting, fishing, gathering and reindeer herding). As a result, food security of the indigenous and local communities is challenged. Indigenous and local communities have developed adaptive strategies to a changing climate and environment (changing fishing grounds in case of fish shortage, consumption habits change, just to name a few). However, their adaptive potential is constrained by socio-political and economic transformations (i.e. the collapse of the Soviet Union or new fishing laws). The interplay of aforementioned climatic stresses and socio-political shocks and trends increase the vulnerability of local and indigenous communities' livelihoods. Therefore, in order to maintain or increase the sustainability of Arctic social-ecological systems, it is necessary to take into account indigenous and local knowledge in developing and implementing conservation policies.

Abstract

The Arctic is undergoing rapid transformations as a result of global change. Global change drivers significantly affect Arctic biodiversity as well as ecosystem functioning: climate change results in shifts of natural habitats of many animals and plants; land use and technological adaptation cause migration route changes of numerous animals; the expansion
of non-native species forces out native ones; and overexploitation brings about an extinction of many native species. Arctic indigenous and local communities are also dramatically affected by global change since they are highly dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services for food, economy and socio-cultural well-being. Moreover, the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities are challenged by socio-political as well as economic stresses and shocks.
This thesis aims to assess the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of the Arctic social-ecological systems. In doing so, the thesis examines indigenous and local knowledge of global change drivers and their effects on the social-ecological systems. Social-ecological systems represent complex interactions of humans and nature. In the case of accelerated
global change, the vulnerability of social-ecological systems may be increased and thus may compromise their sustainability. The thesis is based on two case study areas in the Arctic regions of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in North-Eastern Siberia, Russia, where indigenous (Eveny, Evenki, Sakha) and non-indigenous (Russian, Ukrainians etc.) community members have been interviewed. It employs a mixed methods approach: 34 qualitative in�depth interviews, participant observation, two focus group discussions and 204 quantitative standardized questionnaires have been carried out in four Arctic settlements.
The study has shown that Yakutian communities face multiple global change related stresses. These stresses significantly affect livelihoods of the indigenous and local communities as well as their traditional practices (hunting, fishing, gathering and reindeer herding). As a result, food security of the indigenous and local communities is challenged. Indigenous and local communities have developed adaptive strategies to a changing climate and environment (changing fishing grounds in case of fish shortage, consumption habits change, just to name a few). However, their adaptive potential is constrained by socio-political and economic transformations (i.e. the collapse of the Soviet Union or new fishing laws). The interplay of aforementioned climatic stresses and socio-political shocks and trends increase the vulnerability of local and indigenous communities' livelihoods. Therefore, in order to maintain or increase the sustainability of Arctic social-ecological systems, it is necessary to take into account indigenous and local knowledge in developing and implementing conservation policies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation (monographical)
Referees:Backhaus Norman, Schaepman-Strub Gabriela, Schaepman Michael E
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
UZH Dissertations
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Place of Publication:Zürich
Date:2018
Deposited On:03 Oct 2018 07:06
Last Modified:01 Apr 2021 13:33
Number of Pages:129
OA Status:Green

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