IAB Research Project Description

Application of Space-Based Technologies and Models to Address Land-Cover/Land-Use Change Problems on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia

Donald 'Skip' Walker, professor of biology at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and principal investigator for the Greening of the Arctic IPY project, at a Nenets camps on the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia, Russia during the summer of 2007. The Nenets are indigenous reindeer herders of the Yamal. Walker is the director of the IAB Alaska Geobotany Center at UAF. Photography courtesy of Skip Walker/IAB. Credit: Courtesy Donald (Skip) Walker/IAB professor

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

The overarching goal of our proposed research is to use remote-sensing technologies to examine how the terrain and anthropogenic factors of reindeer herding and resource development, combined with the climate variations on the Yamal Peninsula, affect the spatial and temporal patterns of vegetation change and how those changes are in turn affecting traditional herding by indigenous people of the region. The Yamal Peninsula in northern Russia has been identified as a “hot spot” for both Arctic climate change and land-use change. The Yamal has undergone extensive anthropogenic disturbance and transformation of vegetation cover over the past 20 years due to gas and oil development and overgrazing by the Nenets reindeer herds. We propose to establish a transect of eight sites across the Yamal to investigate the combined effects of climate change and anthropogenic influences. We will investigate how vegetation changes in this heavily impacted region on poor sandy soils compares with other areas in the Arctic, especially a similar transect on loess soils with less grazing impact in North America. We will use a combination of ground-based studies, remote-sensing studies and studies of Nenets land-use activities to help develop vegetation-change models that can be used to predict future states of the tundra.

Project Funding

1 Jun 2006 – 1 May 2009
IAB Proposal #06-009
UAF Grant #G3065
IAB Project #145

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