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Arctic Community-based Observatories

Both Lapland Sami and Siberian Tungus (Evenk and Even) and Tuva reindeer herders have faced the impacts of climate change for many years, alongside global changes caused by regional, national and international policies, the development of extractive industries, forestry and mega energy constructions (dams, wind mills, roads and railways). Impacts have impressively increased during the last decades.

These herders are therefore in a difficult situation, having at the same time to adapt to new conditions restricting the pastures available due to an increase in extreme events. Lapland and Siberia have always been subject to abrupt changes of weather, but reindeer herders have been observing an increase of temperatures for several decades, as well as an impressive shortening of the snow period, the unpredictability of “shoulder seasons” (late autumn, early spring), new parasitic illnesses, insects and in some cases an increase of forest fires triggering decrease of reindeer pasture.

A greater frequency of freeze and thaw cycles often lead to critical grazing conditions. Nevertheless, they have knowledge and adaptive strategies. How are indigenous community representatives, agencies of the state, knowledge communities, NGO representatives and business interests included (or not) in the debate and decision-making process?

The study compares reindeer herding of two types:

extensive herding with big herds as main subsistence economy in Lapland for Sami and in Siberia for Even,

herding with small herds as an additional subsistence economy (together with hunting and fishing) in Siberia for the Evenk and Tuva-Tozhu.

Among the Evenk the observatory provides daily observation according to criteria of both Indigenous and Scientific knowledge (social and Environmental). In addition, this observatory research team develop co-production products of knowledge concerning Indigenous Environmental Knowledge, environmental changes, land uses’ mapping, adaptive practices and socio-economical impacts of global changes.

By Lavrillier, A., Roue, M., Rojo, M. and Roturier, S.