IAB Research Project Description

Heterogeneity and Resilience of Human-Rangifer Systems: A Circumpolar Social-Ecological Synthesis

Credit: Courtesy of Gary Kofinas

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The goal of this project is to improve understanding of the relative resilience and adaptability of regional Human-Rangifer Systems to the forces for global change, and to derive generalized propositions about their functional properties as critical aspects of the Arctic System. Our work is motivated by the unprecedented rapid changes recently observed in the Arctic at multiple scales, their potential impacts on important human-environment relations, and the need to understand the trajectories and rates of change in a manner that builds the capabilities of society to respond to change. A Human-Rangifer System is defined here at the regional scale as the set of ecological and social processes underlying the human use of Rangifer. (Note: In North America, wild Rangifer are called “caribou” and domestic Rangifer are called “reindeer;” in Eurasia, both wild and domestic forms are called “reindeer.”) These processes include bio-physical interactions, socio-economic dynamics, and social institutions that shape human adaptation. Human-Rangifer Systems have historically and continue to provide keystone ecosystem services to indigenous residents, with Rangifer being the most important terrestrial subsistence resource of the Arctic System.

Project Funding

National Science Foundation
31 Aug 2005 – 31 Jul 2008
IAB Proposal #05-078
UAF Grant #G2798
IAB Project #126

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412