NEWS

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16.08.2017


CultEs just published a fantastic app! Go tracking in Jotunheimen and check the survey and app out!

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22.05.2017


The Arctic Sustainabiltiy Lab participated at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM), June 19-22 in Umeå, Sweden. We had 3 speakers, where Sigrid Engen was one presenting:

Public participation in Norwegian protected area governance – the role of advisory councils

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Abstract

Genuine participation of stakeholders is essential for attaining ideals of local ownership, place attachment and identity, the backbone of stewardship practices (Lokocz et al., 2011). In today’s Norwegian protected area policy, attaining these ideals is largely left to representative democracy. Local boards with elected politicians have decision making authority, while local stakeholders are appointed to advisory councils and should be consulted, but the functioning and involvement of these councils vary a lot. Navigating social-ecological systems to arrive at sustainable solutions is a complex undertaking and it is increasingly acknowledged that complexity should be addressed, not by governments alone, but through governance – interactions and decision-making among multiple actors. Well-designed participatory processes are vital in this respect. They can encourage sustainability and enhance the adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems by increasing the legitimacy of a decision, enhance trust, provide higher quality decisions, improving implementation due to less opposition and increased civic competence (von Korff et al., 2010). In this study, we examined the role of the advisory councils through an extensive questionnaire that involved 11 councils. We asked about their background, knowledge, values, preferences, the functioning of the councils and their relation with the different environmental authorities and each other. Results show that the stakeholders are highly knowledgeable and experienced. They see advisory councils as the preferred approach to participation, but wish to be more involved than at present. Advisory councils can become a great asset and efforts should be made to make participation mutually beneficial for all parties in order to advance towards achieving benefits like knowledge co-production and social learning.

15.05.2017


One of our Ph.D. students of the science lab and part of CultEs just got an article accepted for publication in Conservation Letters!

Impact of local empowerment on conservation practices in a highly developed
country.

Abstract
Community-based conservation, where local decision makers are responsible for balancing conservation and development, is often preferred to exclusionary conservation that prioritizes use-limitation through strict regulation. Unraveling the evidence for conservation impact of different governance regimes is challenging. Focusing on conservation practices before and after a reform can provide an early indication of behavioral changes acting as a precursor to changes in social and ecological outcomes, which generally need more time to materialize. A recent reform in Norway provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the impact of local empowerment on conservation practices in protected areas. We analyzed 1,466 decisions in 31 protected areas before and after the reform while accounting for differences between private and public property ownership. We found that the conservation practices were liberal both before and after the reform. The impact of local empowerment on conservation practices was contingent on land tenure: more use was allowed after the reform on private land. We conclude that conservation impact evaluations could benefit from a before-and-after spatial approach taking into account land tenure for analyzing the impacts of local decision making.

Congratulations to Sigrid Engen and read more here:

Engen_et_al-2017-Conservation_Letters


03.05.2017


A publication in ScienceAdvances and the project CONNECT is in the media!

Climate change is creating greener tundra, which may sound like good news for caribou, bu on the contrary,  there is found a strong bottom-up effect in which a warmer climate related to diminishing sea ice has increased the plant biomass on the summer pastures resulting in declining caribou populations. This can be an early signal of a climate-driven shift in the caribou-plant interaction dominated by non-edible shrubs with diminishing herds of migratory caribou (Fauchald et al. 2017).

The question now is not only how this “greening” of the Arctic might affect Arctic ecosystems but also how this affects the Indigenous communities relying on the hunt of caribou and eventually also other animals and plants within the food chain.

This publication and important topic has been picked up by Motherboard & New Deeply (Arctic Deeply), spreading the word.

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26.04.2017


One more MSc student opportunity !

Are you a student and interested in ecosystem services research in the Arctic Norway? We are looking for students to join our team in EsArctic to work with ecosystem services on the Varanger peninsula.

 We are developing new tools and technologies for adaptive monitoring of ecosystem services in Arctic and alpine areas. In collaboration with Utah State, Oregon State University and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, we are developing spatial models for the distribution of ecosystem services at the landscape scale. We are therefore looking for a MSc student who is interested in developing a tool for analyzing ecosystem services using the Sample Point approach. Become a part of our team and innovatively contribute to the development of our tools!

 Follow the link to learn more!

MSc Adaptive monitoring of ecosystem services using a sample point approach


18.04.2017


Do you want to become a future Master Student on a Arctic Sustainability project? –IndGov gives you the upportunity!

Master stipends: The IndGov project issues master stipends of NOK 30.000 to conduct specific tasks related to mapping of reindeer husbandry land use in collaboration with Vera Hausner and Per Sandström (the TriArc project). The stipend may be allocated to a student enrolled at an appropriate master program from the fall of 2017 or a graduate. Contact Camilla Brattland at camilla.brattland@uit.no or Vera Hausner at vera.hausner@uit.no for more information.

This is a great opportunity to enter Arctic and Sustainability Sciences, with a positive and innovative research team!


31.03.2017


– Research is also about outreach and making ones work sustainable in communities. Talks about Technology and subsistence was made during the fieldwork of CONNECT, with a lot of enthusiasm and engagement of the students of 6th graders.


22.03.2017


– Jen Schmidt, CONNECT,  conducting interviews and q-sorts of 10-12 people in 3 Arctic communities in Alaska: Noorvik, Noatak, and Brevig Mission.  Noorvik and Noatak are in the Northwest Arctic Borough which obtains revenue from the Red Dog Mine which is one of the largest zinc mines in the world.  Noatak is closer to Red Dog and residents of Noatak a larger portion of residents are employed by the mine than in Noorvik.  Noorvik, however, has started a rock crushing operation that does provide some employment opportunities.  Meanwhile, Brevig Mission is in the Nome census area and there is minimal resource extraction activity and economic benefits from resource extraction activities. These three communities have slightly different geography and socio-economic conditions and which might influence use and access to technology. The interviews are about technology, subsistence, and climate change.  The goal is to examine how technology use has changed, especially over the last 10 years.  Also weather changes in technology have influenced subsistence dynamics such as participation, use areas, harvest, success, etc.  Lastly, we would like to know what role technology plays in addressing climate related changes in the environment.

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Participatory mapping in Noorvik (Photo: Jen Schmidt).

01.03.2017


– The Arctic Sustainability Lab has been initiated !

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