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Mapping Relocation: A Spatial Understanding of Alaskan Communities Facing Climate Change-Related Displacement

Authors: Trevor Fuller*, SUNY - Oneonta
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Global Change, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Alaska, Arctic, Climate, Displacement, Relocation, Indigenous
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The research presented here is centered on one particular form of climate change adaptation either chosen or required of several Alaskan indigenous communities: relocation. Alaska has seen temperatures warm up to twice the global average temperature over recent decades. This has contributed towards increased incidence of various climate change-related effects such as flooding, erosion, and more severe storm impacts. As a result, for many years several indigenous communities in Alaska have either directly requested to be relocated or are facing the difficult task of deciding whether to relocate. While some communities have elected to relocate, others have not. Further, those who decide on relocation have encountered long delays in obtaining necessary support primarily because no government agency was ever given authority to oversee relocation of whole communities. This project is a GIS-based study which uses visualization as its primary method of analysis and communication. Here I seek to visualize the distribution of Alaskan communities which have either already relocated or are currently debating/facing relocation in response to climate change effects. The visualization includes information regarding the primary climate change effect encountered in each community as well as estimated relocation costs. This research is an attempt to better understand the severity of climate change effects on Alaskan indigenous communities while also assessing the ability of the communities, the State of Alaska, and the Federal Government to provide the primary adaptation measure selected: relocation.

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