Climate Change in Siberia: Local-Scale Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies

Authors: Trevor Fuller*, SUNY - Oneonta, Antonina Savvinova, M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University, Viktoriia Filippova, Department of Arctic Researchers, The Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North
Topics: Polar Regions, Global Change, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: Polar, Arctic, Siberia, Russia, Adaptation to Climate Change
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Given the rapid climate-related changes occurring in the Siberian arctic and subarctic regions, discussions have shifted toward how best to cope with such changes. This research is centered on how one group of residents adapt to changes in their local environment. Livelihoods and landscapes are changing and here we focus on the tribal communities of Khatystyr, located within the Aldan District of southern Yakutia, Russia. We explore whether/how local villagers have implemented adaptive strategies in dealing with local-scale climate change. The study area is located within the Belletskiy Evenk National nasleg, which is in the northwestern portion of Aldan district, southern Yakutia (Russian Federation). The village of Khatystyr sits in two places, with the ‘old’ town located at the edge of the Aldan River, and the ‘new’ community relocated approximately one-mile uphill. The primary economic activities within the area revolve around both subsistence and commercial hunting and reindeer herding. To assess whether hunters and reindeer herders are developing adaptive strategies, we conducted open-ended interviews with residents of the study area, including hunters, reindeer herders, residents, and local village officials. Additionally, questionnaires were provided to study participants to gauge residents’ perceptions of climate change in the region and if necessary, what types of adaptation strategies have been implemented in their everyday lives. Research findings revealed residents perceive a link between changes in the ‘local’ climate and negative impacts to the local reindeer population, their own food security, problematic wolf predation of reindeer herds, and increased flooding along the Aldan River.

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