Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Alaska study offers strategies to mitigate climate warming

Using Interior Alaska's boreal forests as a case study, a team of scientists led by University of Alaska Fairbanks ecologist F. Stuart (Terry) Chapin III recently offered four policy strategies for sustaining people and the environment as both face a dramatically warming climate.

Chapin, a professor at the Institute of Arctic Biology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, is the lead author in an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, anthropologists, an economist, a historian and a political scientist that published the recommendations in a recent issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors identified Alaska as a particularly appropriate place to apply their strategies because ecosystem services such as water, food, and fuel, which are key processes that mediate climate effects on society, are critical to the sustainability of rural livelihoods and culture.

In Alaska, climate warming has triggered more intense and extensive wildfires, bark beetle outbreaks, lowered regional water tables, increased permafrost thaw and subsequent thermokarsts, which contribute to the failure of roads, homes and other infrastructure.

"We took stock of these changes and from that we assessed what society is going to need to respond to these changes," said Gary Kofinas, co-author and coordinator of the Resilience and Adaptation Program at UAF. The policy recommendations, Kofinas said, address "... what we need to do and what can we do to retain the properties of the social and ecological systems in which we live."

The first strategy focuses on enhancing humans' adaptability to a warming climate by integrating science and technology with local knowledge, and by integrating science, management and local needs using what the authors call adaptive management and governance.

The second strategy focuses on enhancing the resiliency of people and the environment to significant social and ecological change. By increasing biological, cultural, and economic diversity the authors argue that humans will have more options for adapting to changes and that such diversity can act as a buffer from change.

The third strategy focuses on reducing human and environmental vulnerability by effectively communicating to the public how the effects of high-latitude (Arctic) climate warming are linked to their low-latitude causes. "The climate change impacts being experienced in Alaska can be responded to here, but most of their causes need to be addressed at the national or international level," said co-author Martin Robards, a UAF RAP Ph.D. student. Reducing the anthropogenic (human-caused) contribution to climate warming - greenhouse gas emissions - is the key to mitigating climate change-related vulnerability in Interior Alaska," write the authors.

The fourth strategy is to facilitate transformation. "People typically prefer to adopt an accustomed life, rather than perpetually adapting to sudden and rapid changes," Robards said. "Transformation is the ability of people to look at the changing world and their place in it in new and unknown ways." For example, rising oil prices makes transforming an Alaska village from diesel-based fuel to biomass more feasible.

Despite the challenges of sustaining the beneficial attributes of complex social-ecological systems in the face of multiple large-scale directional changes, including climate warming, the authors conclude that each of the strategies provides societal benefits and suggest that all be pursued simultaneously.

Marie Gilbert | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>