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!
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.11.2018 | Information Technology
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences