Understanding and adapting to observed changes in the Alaskan Arctic: Actionable knowledge co-production with Alaska Native communities

Published on Feb 1, 2018in Deep-sea Research Part Ii-topical Studies in Oceanography2.43
· DOI :10.1016/j.dsr2.2018.02.008
Martin D. Robards13
Estimated H-index: 13
(WCS: Wildlife Conservation Society),
H.P. Huntington1
Estimated H-index: 1
+ 5 AuthorsM. Williams1
Estimated H-index: 1
(WWF: World Wide Fund for Nature)
Abstract Global changes in climate, connectivity, and commerce are having profound impacts on the Arctic environment and inhabitants. There is widespread recognition of the value of incorporating different worldviews and perspectives when seeking to understand the consequences of these impacts. In turn, attention to local needs, perspectives, and cultures is seen as essential for fostering effective adaptation planning, or more broadly, the resilience of local peoples. The emerging literature on “knowledge co-production” identifies factors that can help incorporate such local needs and information. This field focuses on how different models of what has been termed the “science-policy interface” can incorporate multiple epistemologies. Such an approach goes beyond observing or assessing change from different scales and perspectives, to defining conditions that support the co-production of actionable knowledge. This approach requires the development of response tools that can accommodate the dynamic relationships among people, wildlife, and habitats that straddle cultures, timescapes, and sometimes, national boundaries. We use lessons from seven Alaskan cases studies to describe a typology of five elements important for the co-production of locally relevant actionable knowledge. Three elements are consistent with earlier work, including 1) evolving communities of practice, 2) iterative processes for defining problems and solutions, and 3) presence of boundary organizations, such as a government agency, university, or co-management council. Our results for the Alaskan Arctic also emphasize the critical need to incorporate 4) the consistent provision of sufficient funds and labor that may transcend any one specific project goal or funding cycle, and 5) long temporal scales (sometimes decades) for achieving the co-production of actionable knowledge. Our results have direct relevance to understanding the mechanisms that might foster greater success in more formalized co-management regimes.
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