Project description

Project structure: three stages

Stage 1. Broad analyses of the relationship between indirect (e.g. environmental governance and socio-economic conditions) and direct (e.g. land use, harvesting and pollution) drivers. These analyses use the administrative regions of the circumpolar area as units and are based in the first place on official statistics and published data.

Stage 2. Detailed analyses of direct drivers, ecosystem services, ecosystem state and resource-dependency in model settlements. In this phase interviews or workshops will be carried out with residents of the model settlements.

Stage 3. Integrated analyses of the hierarchical levels in the project will result in a better understanding of how to implement ecosystem-based management approaches in tundra ecosystems. A focus of these analyses will also be to assess fit or mismatch between social-ecological and governance systems.

project structure

 Project Design: spatial contrasts

 The project design is based on spatial contrasts. The circumpolar tundra areas belong to countries with clear contrasts in governance, management systems, industrial development of the North and socio-economic conditions. In TUNDRA we focus on Alaska (USA), Canada, Russia and Norway. Also within the large countries there are clear contrasts in management systems between arctic regions (Canada, Russia) and important socio-economic differences between individual settlements. Still the tundra ecosystem is relatively similar throughout the whole area, and faces similar challenges. Local residents depend on natural resources from low productive ecosystems (pastoralism hunting, fishing). Climate change is going to have a major impact on tundra ecosystems and changes are already observed. In addition increased activity linked to oil and gas exploitation and mining stresses the fragile ecosystems and poses new challenges for residents.

 In this situation a design of spatial contrasts allows to statistically assess the impact of governance systems and socio-economic conditions on direct drivers, ecosystem state and ecosystem services to local people. In phase 1, all arctic regions of the four studied countries will be compared with respect to governance systems, socio-economic conditions and direct drivers such as harvesting of wild animals, reindeer herding (grazing), and water quality (left map). Where available, data are collected on a lower level as well. Thus socio-economic data are collected on the level of municipality in Norway for instance, and harvest data on the level of game management units in Alaska. In phase 2 a subset of regions was chosen which are contrasted with respect to governance system (right map). Within these regions pairs of settlements with a contrasted labour marked structure were chosen. In settlements marked with a black dot there is a real possibility for wage income, whereas in settlements marked by a white dot, this is not the case.


In stage 1 data are collected for the following regions:

Canada: Yukon, North Western Territories, Nunavut, Nord du Québec and Labrador

USA: Alaska

Russia: Chukotkskii AO, Republic Sakha (Yakutia), Taimyr, Yamalo-Nenetskii AO, Nenetskii AO and Murmanskaya Oblast’.

Norway: Finnmark and northern Troms.

Highlighted regions will also be included in stage two (right map above).