ArticleLiterature Review

Sustaining a Healthy Human–Walrus Relationship in a Dynamic Environment: Challenges for Comanagement

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Abstract

Native communities in the Bering and Chukchi seas have long relied on walrus for a multitude of nutritional, social, and cultural needs. Impacts to walrus in the past have resulted in profound consequences to these communities. For example, on St. Lawrence Island during the 1878-1880 "Great Famine" as many as 2000 people (> 90% of the island's population) starved after the walrus herds were decimated by Yankee whalers. Loss of walrus was further confounded by a wave of fatal contagion and difficult hunting conditions attributable to short-term climatic changes. Today, the ability of coastal hunters to access, harvest, transport, store, and utilize walrus is still affected by a dynamic suite of endogenous and exogenous factors, including ecological, social, economic, and political conditions. Impacts specifically as a result of changing climate will affect Native Alaskan hunters within the context of these diverse and sometimes global factors. The Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) works within a comanagement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to address these challenges. However, the EWC's goals may differ from the USFWS within the current comanagement and policy context. Whereas the USFWS is primarily interested in walrus population health (assessed through estimates of population size and native harvest), EWC is primarily interested in a broader scope, encompassing the health of the human-walrus relationship. New scientific tools associated with the study and management of linked human-ecological systems may provide a framework within which to address these goals. Here we present an overview of the challenges, needs, and research relating to climate change that are of interest to the EWC and in particular, the sustained health of the human-walrus relationship.

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... Arctic marine mammal life cycles and habitat use are incompletely documented in the scientific literature and historical baseline data is often unavailable [38,39]. Indigenous communities in the Arctic, however, have long-term, detailed observations of marine mammals [38,42]. ...
... For example, during the ESA status reviews, the EWC opposed the listing of walruses as threatened or endangered, out of concern that this process (1) did not include sufficient traditional ecological knowledge to accurately assess the status of walruses and (2) would not address threats from commercial fishing and shipping, as well as oil and gas development, but would rather focus on regulating Alaska Native walrus harvests. Additionally, EWC has advocated for ecosystem-level walrus management (e.g., [42]) and has campaigned against bottomtrawling for commercial or research purposes, opposed disturbance to walruses by helicopters, advocated for tribal consultation in policies that could affect walrus or walrus habitat, and promoted local involvement in research. Similarly, Kawerak has promoted tribal consultation, the use of traditional knowledge, and precautionary Arctic management that mitigates noise and pollution and prevents industrial fishing in the northern Bering Sea (e.g., [52]), and the Ice Seal Committee has, among other things, advocated for better integration of traditional knowledge into the ESA process. ...
... Although co-management agreements bring tribal experts and agency scientists together, federal agencies still hold most decision-making power and control over funding, and research and policy often do not reflect indigenous knowledge or values (e.g. [42,45]). Inclusive processes that share actual resourcemanagement decision-making power with tribes and ANOs are just [68] and have considerable potential to improve policies through the incorporation of detailed knowledge of human-pinniped-marine environment systems as well as indigenous environmental ethics that promote sustainability. ...
... With an understanding of the observed differences between the Antarctic Peninsula and the rest of Antarctica, the consequences of sea ice reduction from the perspective of polar pinnipeds can be considered to parallel those in the Arctic. Moore and Huntington (2008) identified four general areas of challenges that Arctic marine mammals (and by extension here, Antarctic marine mammals, especially in the Antarctic Peninsula) will face as a result of changes to ice conditions: habitat modification (Laidre et al., 2008), ecosystem alteration (Bluhm & Gradinger, 2008;Fisbach et al., 2007;Stirling & Parkinson, 2006); stresses to maintain body condition and health (Burek et al, 2008), and increased human interactions (Tynan & DeMaster, 1997;Hovelsrud et al., 2008;Metcalf & Robards, 2008). ...
... Walrus depend on ice as a resting platform as they feed on the benthos of shallow continental shelves. As the ice recedes north of the continental shelf into the deeper Arctic Ocean, walrus are unable to dive to the depths where their benthic prey is located and return to resting locations (Metcalf & Robards, 2008;Moore & Huntington, 2008). This has caused more walrus to haul out on land closer to feeding areas, which puts them at greater risk for the spread of disease, disturbance, contamination, and being trampled in the crowded haul out regions (Kelly, 2001;Metcalf & Robards, 2008). ...
... As the ice recedes north of the continental shelf into the deeper Arctic Ocean, walrus are unable to dive to the depths where their benthic prey is located and return to resting locations (Metcalf & Robards, 2008;Moore & Huntington, 2008). This has caused more walrus to haul out on land closer to feeding areas, which puts them at greater risk for the spread of disease, disturbance, contamination, and being trampled in the crowded haul out regions (Kelly, 2001;Metcalf & Robards, 2008). ...
Article
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The Arctic and Antarctic share a strong seasonality of light and temperature extremes that create similar selective pressures for animals living in these two polar and associated sub polar regions. There is significant evidence that Arctic ice conditions are rapidly deteriorating due to global climate change and evidence that Antarctic ice is also changing. Sub polar regions experience a seasonal ice cover with an added dynamic range of environmental conditions often exceeding that at the poles. In polar and sub polar waters, the presence of sea ice dominates the physical environment for an extended period of time. This strongly influences pinniped distribution, reproductive strategies, foraging ecology, and acoustic behavior. In both polar regions, seals have distinctly different underwater vocal repertoires associated with breeding and an airborne repertoire associated with mother and pup communication. In this chapter, a comparative approach is taken to relate the underwater acoustic behavior of polar pinnipeds (phocids and walrus) to their ecology and aspects of their sea ice habitat. Understanding the commonalities and differences in the spatial, spectral, and temporal characteristics of vocalizations from species with comparable biologies relative to local sea ice conditions may provide insights into the acoustic ecology of pinnipeds in polar habitats. Acoustic ecology describes the interaction between an animal and its environment as mediated through sound and is determined by the species' behavioral ecology, but also by biotic and abiotic factors of the environment. Insight into acoustic ecology may therefore provide information on the potential direct and indirect impacts of polar climate change on pinnipeds. Loss of sea ice will likely affect polar pinniped distribution and breeding activities; both of which can be detected through long-term passive acoustic monitoring. One of the secondary effects of sea ice loss is the impact to the polar acoustic soundscape (i.e., the acoustic environment). The communication system of polar pinnipeds, which permeates critical life functions like breeding, evolved in an acoustic environment dominated by ambient noise levels associated with seasonal ice cover. Changes in ice dynamics will likely be accompanied by shifts in habitat use by both marine animals and humans which will lead to a corresponding change in the acoustic soundscape. The combined impacts of these effects is unprecedented, but the knowledge gained from a comparison of pinniped acoustic ecology between the Arctic and the Antarctic will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between ice seals and their changing environment.
... However, Laidre et al. (2008) assessed the sensitivity of many arctic marine mammals to climate-induced habitat changes associated with changes in sea-ice dynamics. In addition, Hovelsrud et al. (2008) examined human-marine mammal interactions, with a focus on subsistence harvest, and Metcalf and Robards (2008) and Robards et al. (2009) examined human-Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) interactions specifically. All these assessments noted a lack of baseline as well as current data for many marine species, ecosystems, and processes that would be useful in assessing climate change effects. ...
... There are some trends in walrus distribution that could be related to such an ecosystem shift, but also to other causes (Bluhm et al. 2011). For example, many of the traditional Bering Sea summer haulouts are no longer used or contain fewer animals (Metcalf and Robards 2008;Sell and Weiss 2010;Winfree 2010). However, more males joining the spring migration (EWC 2003;Oozeva et al. 2004) and the formation of new haulouts are most likely responsible for that trend. ...
... Another major consideration associated with coastal haulout use is the increased energetic expenditure by adult females to acquire the level of prey needed for maintenance, gestation, and lactation (Metcalf and Robards 2008;USFWS 2011;Jay et al. 2011). Evidence of females in poor body condition is inconsistent both spatially and temporally, and more anecdotal than programmatic. ...
Article
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The extent and duration of sea-ice habitats used by Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) are diminishing resulting in altered walrus behavior, mortality, and distribution. I document changes that have occurred over the past several decades and make predictions to the end of the 21st century. Climate models project that sea ice will monotonically decline resulting in more ice-free summers of longer duration. Several stressors that may impact walruses are directly influenced by sea ice. How these stressors materialize were modeled as most likely-case, worst-case, and best-case scenarios for the mid- and late-21st century, resulting in four comprehensive working hypotheses that can help identify and prioritize management and research projects, identify comprehensive mitigation actions, and guide monitoring programs to track future developments and adjust programs as needed. In the short term, the most plausible hypotheses predict a continuing northward shift in walrus distribution, increasing use of coastal haulouts in summer and fall, and a population reduction set by the carrying capacity of the near shore environment and subsistence hunting. Alternatively, under worst-case conditions, the population will decline to a level where the probability of extinction is high. In the long term, walrus may seasonally abandon the Bering and Chukchi Seas for sea-ice refugia to the northwest and northeast, ocean warming and pH decline alter walrus food resources, and subsistence hunting exacerbates a large population decline. However, conditions that reverse current trends in sea ice loss cannot be ruled out. Which hypothesis comes to fruition depends on how the stressors develop and the success of mitigation measures. Best-case scenarios indicate that successful mitigation of unsustainable harvests and terrestrial haulout-related mortalities can be effective. Management and research should focus on monitoring, elucidating effects, and mitigation, while ultimately, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to reduce sea-ice habitat losses.
... Coastal villages in the northern Bering Sea are frequently located at ecological and cultural boundaries, where the inherent diversity and connections are thought to have benefited their resilience to environmental and social changes over time (Krupnik 1993;Meek et al. 2008;Turner et al. 2003). Nevertheless, Alaskan hunters are currently reporting broad-scale changes in sea-ice and weather patterns that reduce their ability to safely and efficiently find, access, retrieve, and return walrus to communities (Metcalf and Robards 2008). For example, Patrick Omiak Sr. of Diomede states that 'the ice is always gone so fast that we are not catching walrus like we used to'; Leonard Apangalook of Gambell states 'our walrus season is very short now' (Eskimo Walrus Commission 2003); and Conrad Oozeva of Gambell (in Oozeva et al. 2004) states that 'because the ice melted too fast, the walruses moved faster and in shorter time than usual.' ...
... Such alternating regimes resulted from the modified connections between climate, sea ice, weather, wildlife, and people. More recently, local-scale impacts to walrus and human communities from a changing arctic environment have been described through sharing of knowledge types, using local observations and broadscale scientific perspectives (Gearheard et al. 2006;Kapsch et al. 2010;Krupnik and Ray 2007;Laidler 2006;Metcalf and Robards 2008). This manuscript continues to build from these efforts. ...
... Of particular note is the continued importance of the walrus hunt to communities. Adaptability of communities is facilitated by local knowledge, continued learning, strong social networks, flexibility in resource use, and institutional support (Ford et al. 2008;Metcalf and Robards 2008). Our results suggest that Gambell and Savoonga have been resilient in their contemporary ability to catch walrus (maintaining their per-capita catch rate). ...
Article
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Changes in sea-ice conditions have direct bearing on ice-associated species such as Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens), an important species for coastal Alaska Native subsistence. We explore the dynamic relationships among sea ice, walrus, and subsistence hunting between 1952 and 2004 at three northern Bering Sea villages � Diomede, Gambell, and Savoonga. We integrate changes in timing, size, and gender distribution of walrus catches under four environmental regimes that alter the extent, duration, and persistence of sea ice. Our results suggest that the physical ice conditions proximal to the three villages affect timing and migration of walrus herds and thus hunting, but village-specific factors, such as the number and demographics of hunters, impart strong inter-community variability in the magnitude of catches. Decadal-scale climatic regimes are correlated with consistent patterns of timing and magnitude for the walrus hunts at Gambell and Savoonga, and at Diomede until 1989. However, a marked reduction in walrus catches at Diomede since 1989 is attributable to several social changes that compound more difficult hunting conditions. Our study highlights the important linkages between geographic location and the sociocultural capacity to hunt (e.g. number of hunters and local rules) when considering the resilience or vulnerability of village subsistence activities in a changing climate.
... Furthermore, with the exception of haulout disturbance of walruses, human disturbance and shipping traffic were considered to be only marginally important in comparison with other factors. This may be because the harvest of marine mammals and caribou is highly regulated in the U.S. (George et al. 2004b, Metcalf and Robards 2008, Harper 2013. Some key uncertainties highlighted by this survey (in the form of a response of "unknown") were the effects of shipping traffic and predation by killer whales on marine mammals (Appendix 2). ...
... Therefore, because of either reduced access or availability, four out of five of these key subsistence foods have the potential to be compromised, depending on the status of the population (caribou) and ice conditions (bowhead whale, walrus, bearded seal). A transition to a fall hunt would alleviate the problem of access to bowhead whales, although hunters may require larger boats and/or motors to withstand rough seas and travel farther from shore (Metcalf and Robards 2008, Hansen et al. 2013, Vermaire et al. 2013. ...
Article
Climate change is impacting the subsistence livelihoods of many indigenous communities in the Arctic. We describe how structured decision analysis (SDA), informed by traditional ecological knowledge, can be used to understand the mechanisms of how climate change influences subsistence species and their harvest, and to build upon existing adaptive strategies and decision-making processes. In the Iñupiat community of Wainwright, Alaska, we test SDA as a potential framework by which vulnerabilities of subsistence systems can be identified and climate change adaptations can be prioritized. Over the course of five workshops, participants identified issues of concern, assessed the benefits and trade-offs of different strategies to enhance the safety of subsistence activities, identified factors influencing key subsistence species and their accessibility, and assessed the dependence of animals and their harvest on sea ice. Furthermore, we asked workshop participants to assess whether subsistence resources have increased, decreased, or remained stable over the past decade. Declining caribou populations and unsafe ice conditions for hunters were of particular concern in Wainwright. Participants identified high priority safety strategies such as a new docking facility, safety workshops, a hunter meeting place, and search and rescue boats. Because of its coastal location on a lagoon at the mouth of a river, Wainwright has a highly diverse subsistence system that may in part buffer the negative effects of climate change. Furthermore, most species or groups harvested in Wainwright were assessed as stable or increasing. Nevertheless, of the five most important subsistence species in Wainwright, one experienced recent population declines (caribou) and the harvest of three others depends on the presence of thick, reliable shorefast ice. We propose that SDA can be a useful tool to assess the vulnerability of subsistence systems to climate change, and can be used to prioritize strategies to adapt to climate change.
... Climate change may alter all aspects of the preceding analysis, resulting in potentially greater exposure to, and effects of, environmental contaminants in Pacific walruses. These could include changes in walrus biology, and changes in distribution, such as expansion into contaminated areas of western Siberia (Metcalf and Robards 2008). ...
... Climate related change will affect long-range and oceanic transport of contaminants, and may provide additional sources. Increasing water temperatures may increase methylation of mercury (Sunderland et al. 2009) and release contaminants from melting pack-ice (Metcalf and Robards 2008). 137 Cesium from nuclear weapons testing fallout and Chernobyl may be liberated from storage in trees with projected increasing forest fires (AMAP 2009). ...
... SIWO updates have been released weekly for the period from April 2010 through mid-June 2010. This period was selected to match the interest of local Alaskan stakeholders who hunt walrus primarily during the peak of the spring migration during break-up and northward retreat of ice in the Bering and Chukchi Seas (Metcalf and Robards, 2008). ...
... There was also a de nite impact of the IPY process, in terms of planning, language and ideology on many other initiatives of the 'IPY era. ' Firstly, IPY 2007-2008 solidi ed the transition to more societal-relevant science and pushed polar research to be more attuned to the needs and interests of multiple stakeholders, such as polar residents, policy-makers, environmental groups, science educators and the like. Secondly, IPY embedded a new format of polar research with a much broader ('across-the-range') spectrum of disciplines than had been common for earlier multidisciplinary studies and infused more input from social sciences and local knowledge of polar residents, at least in the Arctic. ...
... A particularly low catch of three narwhal in Ittoqqortormiit in 2003 was for instance attributed to lack of drift ice during the summer resulting in higher waves and more difficult hunting conditions. Hunters in other locations report similar problems (Metcalf and Robards 2008). Both ice cover, temperature and wind speed were taken into consideration when preparing the quarterly narwhal kills/hunter model inTable 4 and the remaining effect of year must therefore be explained by other factors. ...
... Finally co-management could include a jointly developed monitoring strategy (Russel et al. 2000; Huntington 2000; Harwood et al. 2002). This should, in addition to biological population counts, use the large and cost-efficient data potential in systematically recorded quantitative observations by the hunters (Johannes 1998; Kofinas et al. 2001; Moller et al. 2004; Gilchrist et al. 2005; Metcalf and Robards 2008; see also Danielsen et al. 2000 see also Danielsen et al. , 2005 see also Danielsen et al. , 2007) who regularly navigate the East Greenland coast. The latter would give hunters a valid basis for argumentation in co-management meetings and could provide an indirect measure of population trends etc. in periods between biological counts (Gimenez et al. 2006) and hence enable rapid management response to changes introduced for instance as a result of climate change (Nielsen 2009). ...
Article
This study evaluates the introduction of quotas on narwhal hunting in East Greenland with respect to effects on Inuit culture and based on trends in narwhal killed per hunter and assessment of migration patterns. Cultural aspects were assessed through group discussions and comparison between East and Northwest Greenland. Trends in narwhal killed/hunter were modeled from catch statistics using information on number of hunters and climate and ice cover data for the period 1993–2004. Results indicate negative impacts of quotas on Inuit culture; did not detect negative trends in narwhal killed/hunter; and suggest south-west-bound migration, implying potential immigration from non-hunted populations that was not considered in quota setting. The implementation of quotas without local consultations and legal basis in the relevant executive order is therefore in our opinion inappropriate. Conservation and sustainable use of narwhal stocks may be more likely to succeed if local communities are involved through co-management agreements.
... Region are emphasizing the need for policy that will minimize disturbance to one of the traditional backbones of the region's food security: the Pacific walrus (Metcalf & Robards, 2008;MacCracken, 2012). The insecurity of several marine mammal species has heightened the need for effective management in the Bering Strait Region. ...
... In general, the Eskimo Walrus Commission views walrus from several angles, within food security. The Eskimo Walrus Commission's focus on a complex integration of systems, also relies on ecosystem-wide research, rather than data on the individual species.Since the goals differ, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Eskimo Walrus Commission understand the funding, research, and public involvement needs of the species differently(Metcalf & Robards, 2008).This work, undertaken by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Eskimo Walrus Commission, ...
Thesis
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The effectiveness of a state's natural resource management is rendered meaningless if the particular resource migrates into another state's jurisdiction. In the case of marine mammals, inadequate management of the species anywhere along their annual migration could make food insecure for the regional human populations. My research evaluates to what extent International Environmental Agreements have been able to manage transboundary challenges to food security. Two case studies, the Polar Bear Agreement (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2000) and the International Convention for the Regulation o f Whaling (International Whaling Commission, 1946), are analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively using Ronald Mitchell's four factors for describing variation of International Environmental Agreements' effectiveness: incentives, capacities, information, and norms. To ensure food security in the Bering Strait, this thesis stresses the importance of local concerns, norms and stakeholders. Transboundary management includes stakeholders at various scales to address a local challenge that is intersected by an international political boundary. The higher values of the Bowhead whale International Environmental Agreement's four factors, in the quantitative analysis, account for the higher level of food security for Bowhead whale. The qualitative analysis makes three recommendations for future International Environmental Agreements, in this case the draft U.S.-Russia agreement on Pacific walrus: 1) conservation of the Pacific walrus, 2) maintenance of Native self determination and, 3) encouragement the flow of information between the local and federal stakeholders and between the United States and Russia. In order to ensure future food security in the Bering Strait Region, the management of the Pacific walrus depends on an effective International Environmental Agreement.
... The aim of the present study was to assess how walrus reproductive capacity has changed over a span of 35 years analyzing ovaries from three time frames: 1975, 1994 to 1999 and 2008 to 2010. Information on the abundance (Speckman et al. 2011;MacCracken et al. 2014) and environmental conditions and haulout behavior of walruses (Kavry et al. 2008;Metcalf and Robards 2008;Semenova et al. 2010;Fischbach et al. 2009Fischbach et al. , 2016, differs during these time frames making them distinct. To assess reproductive capacity, ovarian weights and volumes were measured, and the number of CL and CA present in pairs of ovaries were determined, along with the percent of females ovulating in their current cycle. ...
... Walruses responded to these conditions of low sea ice very differently than in previous years ). On the Alaskan coast in 2007, unusual sightings of emaciated females and abandoned calves were observed along the Beaufort Sea, a location where historically walruses rarely come ashore (Metcalf and Robards 2008). It is estimated that in the fall of 2007 alone, 3000-5000 walruses died along the Russian coast of the Chukchi, with additional mortalities reported in Anadyr Bay in the Bering Strait (Kochnev et al. 2008). ...
Article
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Reductions in sea ice and increases in air and seawater temperatures have been documented in the Arctic, making female Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) vulnerable to changes in foraging, energy budgets, and reproductive fitness. The aim of the present study was to assess how walrus reproductive capacity has changed over a span of 35 years analyzing ovaries from three distinct time frames: 1975, 1994 to 1999 and 2008 to 2010. Ovarian weights and volumes, corpora lutea diameter, total number of corpora lutea and albicantia, and the percent of females ovulating in their current cycle were used to evaluate reproductive capacity. Ovaries were collected from walruses hunted by Alaska Native communities for subsistence purposes. There were no differences in ovarian weights or percent of quiescent females between 1975 and 2008 to 2010. Ovaries from 1994 to 1999 were significantly heavier, exhibited more corpora, and all females from this time frame were ovulating at the time of harvest. Reproductive capacity was limited during 1975, due to known density-dependent stressors; reproductive capacity increased during 1994–1999, as harvests increased and more resources became available, and in 2008–2010, females were as reproductively limited as those of 1975. The cause for this reduction in reproductive capacity is unknown, but maybe a result of multiple factors, including an increase in population size coincident with a decrease in carrying capacity, and cumulative stressors relating to sea ice loss, contaminants, and anthropogenic impacts.
... The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens, hereafter referred to as walrus) is an important Arctic marine mammal that Russian and Alaskan Natives rely on for cultural, economic and subsistence purposes (Metcalf and Robards, 2008). Walruses are benthic predators foraging on bivalves, gastropods and marine worms as their preferred prey (Fay, 1982;Sheffield and Grebmeier, 2009), although feeding on higher trophic level prey, such as seals and sea birds, has been documented (Lowry and Fay, 1984;Seymour et al., 2014). ...
... For example, hunters must undergo longer and more dangerous hunting excursions to pursue walruses (Fidel et al., 2014). In addition, researchers from Wrangel Island reported more malnourished females compared to years with adequate sea ice (Metcalf and Robards, 2008). However, more recently, hunters from St. Lawrence Island have reported the majority of walruses in good body condition . ...
Article
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The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is an iconic Arctic marine mammal and an important resource to many Alaska Natives. A decrease in sea ice habitat and unknown population numbers has led to concern of the long-term future health of the walrus population. There is currently no clear understanding of how walrus physiology might be affected by a changing Arctic ecosystem. In this study, steroid hormone concentrations (progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and estradiol) were analysed in walrus bones collected during archaeological [3585–200 calendar years before present (BP)], historical [1880–2006 common era (CE)] and modern (2014–2016 CE) time periods, representing ~ 3651 years, to track changes in reproductive activity and cortisol concentrations (biomarker of stress) over time. Our results show that modern walrus samples have similar cortisol concentrations (median = 43.97 ± standard deviation 904.38 ng/g lipid) to archaeological walruses (38.94 ± 296.17 ng/g lipid, P = 0.75). Cortisol concentrations were weakly correlated with a 15-year average September Chukchi Sea ice cover (P = 0.002, 0.02, r2 = 0.09, 0.04, for females and males, respectively), indicating a possible physiological resiliency to sea ice recession in the Arctic. All steroid hormones had significant negative correlations with mean walrus population estimates from 1960 to 2016 (P < 0.001). Progesterone in females and testosterone in males exhibited significant correlations with average September Chukchi Sea ice cover for years 1880–2016 (P < 0.001 for both, r2 = 0.34, 0.22, respectively). Modern walruses had significantly lower (P = < 0.001) reproductive hormone concentrations compared with historic walruses during times of rapid population increase, indicative of a population possibly at carrying capacity. This is the first study to apply bone as a tool to monitor long-term changes in hormones that may be associated with changes in walrus population size and sea ice cover.
... The quadrats show the limits of the base maps that were used during interviews and validation workshops to gather and then confirm spatial data of Atlantic walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) distribution be studied using rigorous Traditional and Local Ecological Knowledge (TEK/LEK) methods (Huntington 2000;Seidman 2006;Creswell 2009;Furgal and Laing 2012;Martinez-Levasseur et al. 2017). Indeed, TEK/LEK gathered through interviews with harvesters living in close relationship with wildlife is a key source of information for understanding the ecology and distribution of arctic wildlife (Huntington 2011;Service et al. 2014;Pardo-de-Santayana and Macía 2015;Breton-Honeyman et al. 2016), including walruses (Krupnik and Ray 2007;Metcalf and Robards 2008;Kowalchuk and Kuhn 2012;Martinez-Levasseur et al. 2016, 2020. ...
... It is possible that, in the past, hunters harvested walruses directly on the land, disturbing them while they were resting, a strategy that has been criticized by hunters interviewed for this study. Indeed, previous studies revealed that walruses are sensitive to human disturbance, particularly, when it is affecting their land-based haul-out sites (Salter 1979;Metcalf and Robards 2008;DFO 2013). ...
Article
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Environmental changes are affecting the Arctic at an unprecedented rate, but limited scientific knowledge exists on their impacts on species such as walruses (Odobenus rosmarus). Inuit Traditional and Local Ecological Knowledge (Inuit TEK/LEK) held by Inuit walrus harvesters could shed light on walrus ecology and related environmental changes. Our main objective was to study spatial and temporal changes in Atlantic walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) distribution in Nunavik (northern Québec, Canada) using Inuit TEK/LEK. To do so, we documented the knowledge and observations of 33 local hunters and Elders as part of a larger project on Atlantic walruses in Nunavik. We first gathered information on changes in Inuit land use patterns and harvesting practices through time and space, which was a crucial step to avoid potential biases in interpreting local observations on walrus distribution. We found that walrus hunters are now covering smaller hunting areas over shorter time periods, reducing in space and time their observations of Atlantic walruses around Nunavik. While clearly taking these limitations into account, we learned from interviews that some areas abandoned by Atlantic walruses in the past were now being re-occupied. Importantly, Atlantic walruses, which migrate following the melting ice, are now traveling along the eastern coast of Nunavik one month earlier, suggesting that Atlantic walrus migration has changed due to variations in sea-ice coverage around Nunavik. Our study not only highlighted important changes in Atlantic walrus distribution and migration in Nunavik, but also sheds light on the importance of documenting temporal and spatial changes in Inuit land use patterns and harvesting practices to understand the ecology of Arctic species using Inuit Knowledge. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s00300-021-02920-6.
... In the Bering Sea, and to a lesser extent off the North Slope of Alaska, Inupiaq and Yupik Eskimo have specialized in hunting walrus from small boats among the ice. The success of the hunt is directly linked to sea ice conditions, weather, the life cycle and population dynamics of the walrus, and the social and technological settings of the hunt (Krupnik and Ray 2007; Metcalf and Robards 2008). The distribution of sea ice in the northern Bering Sea is influenced by several factors. ...
... Clearly, hunters are more aware of such changes than anybody, as expressed by Leonard Apangalook from Gambell who comments that the " walrus season is very short now " (Oozeva et al. 2004). At the same time, large-scale changes as expressed in multiple decades of harvest observation records have been examined (Metcalf and Robards 2008). What is less understood are the mechanisms by which ice conditions and weather impact the hunt and in particular hunter's access to walrus. ...
Chapter
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The hunting success of St. Lawrence Island walrus hunters from Savoonga (Sivungaq) and Gambell (Sivuqaq) is studied in relation to weather and sea ice conditions for the period 1979–2008. Satellite remote-sensing data, including ice concentration fields from passive-microwave radiometer data, have been examined over the entire time series in conjunction with walrus harvest data from two community-level monitoring programs. Important information to aid with interpretation of these data sets was provided by the hunters themselves, in particular through a log of ice conditions and ice use by L. Apangalook, Sr., of Gambell. From these data, we determined which ice conditions (concentrations >0 and <30%) and which wind speeds (1–5 m s–1 at Savoonga and 5–9 m s–1 at Gambell), temperatures (–5 to +5°C), and visibility (>6km) provide the most favorable conditions for the walrus hunt. The research demonstrated that at the local level, though not necessarily at the region-wide scale, the sea ice concentration anomaly is a very good predictor of the number of favorable hunting days. With the exception of 2007 (and to a lesser extent, 2008), negative anomalies (less ice or earlier onset of ice retreat) coincided with more favorable (Savoonga) or near-average (Gambell) hunting conditions, controlled mostly by access to ice-associated walrus. Ice access and temporal variability differ significantly between Savoonga and Gambell; in contrast with northern Alaska communities, St. Lawrence hunters were able to maintain typical levels of harvest success during the recent record – low ice years of 2007 and 2008. We discuss the potential value of data such as assembled here in assessing vulnerability and adaptation of Arctic communities depending on marine-mammal harvests to climate variability and change. KeywordsSea ice-Subsistence hunt-Ice conditions-Pacific walrus-Climate change
... At the same time, indigenous hunters pursuing walrus by boat and preferring to butcher animals on sea ice are incurring greater risks due to changing ice conditions and a reduced window of opportunity to access game (Kapsch et al. 2010). In this setting, relevant institutions (following Young 1994, meaning informal and formal rules) such as those of the EWC have identified a need for improved sea ice and weather prediction and status information to ensure a safe hunt and avoid animals or conditions not conducive to sound resource management (Metcalf and Robards 2008). Similarly, resource managers with federal agencies have investigated the information needs concerning walrus stock and behavior (Jay et al. 2011). ...
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The institutions governing sea ice system services in the Arctic are associated with particular places, species, and environments. Yet scholars rarely consider the way these associations may present barriers to, or facilitate, effective translation of scientific data into broadly available information for stakeholders to create and debate policy. In light of rapidly changing arctic environments how can data best be collected and disseminated to affected stakeholders as usable information to facilitate effective planning? This article explores the linkages between scientific data production and policy implementation related to sea ice loss in the Arctic. The rapid decline of arctic summer sea ice is currently tracked and studied intensively but a comprehensive approach to address the changes is lacking. Our work builds upon earlier research establishing the need to approach sea ice as a complex multi-jurisdictional geophysical–social–ecological feature from a services standpoint. Our research catalogs the geography of sea ice institutions in northern Alaska to demonstrate the fragmentation in data production and distribution. We then examine two case studies. The first is a newly established cross-scale information bridge improving sea-ice and weather information relevant to walrus hunting and management. The second is the case of the emerging arctic marine traffic regime. We argue that in order to maximize data production, dissemination, and participatory capacity across stakeholders: (1) scientific observations should be tied to institutional density and sea ice services, and (2) information bridges should exist across major institutional actors.
... The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is a large Arctic pinniped that forages on the seafloor of the continental shelves of the Chukchi and Bering Seas. The species is a vital subsistence resource to coastal communities in Alaska and Russia (Metcalf & Robards 2008) and can substantially affect the structure of benthic communities (Oliver et al. 1983, Oliver et al. 1985, Nelson et al. 1994, Born et al. 2003, Ray et al. 2006. Sea ice is used by walruses as a platform for giving birth, nursing young, molting, resting between feeding forays, accessing offshore foraging areas, and avoiding nearshore predation and disturbance (Fay 1982). ...
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The Pacific walrus Odobenus rosmarus divergens is a large Arctic pinniped of the Chukchi and Bering Seas. Reductions of sea ice projected to occur in the Arctic by mid-century raise concerns for conservation of the Pacific walrus. To understand the significance of sea ice loss to the viability of walruses, it would be useful to better understand the spatial associations between the movements of sea ice and walruses. We investigated whether local-scale (̃ 1 to 100 km) walrus movements correspond to movements of sea ice in the Bering Sea in early spring, using locations from radio-tracked walruses and measures of ice floe movements from processed synthetic aperture radar satellite imagery. We used generalized linear mixed-effects models to analyze the angle between walrus and ice floe movement vectors and the distance between the final geographic position of walruses and their associated ice floes (displacement), as functions of observation duration, proportion of time the walrus was in water, and geographic region. Analyses were based on 121 walrus-ice vector pairs and observations lasting 12 to 36 h. Angles and displacements increased with observation duration, proportion of time the walrus spent in the water, and varied among regions (regional mean angles ranged from 40° to 81° and mean displacements ranged from 15 to 35 km). Our results indicated a lack of correspondence between walruses and their initially associated ice floes, suggesting that local areas of walrus activities were independent of the movement of ice floes.
... In some areas of the Arctic, one means of doing this is to form research partnerships with Arctic residents that rely on marine mammals for subsistence. These collaborations provide access for attachment of satellite transmitters to track animal movements and, via harvest monitoring, to investigate changes in diet, body condition and contaminant burdens concomitant with ecosystem variability (Metcalf and Robards, 2008;Moore and Huntington, 2008). Integration of findings from community-based investigations with those from ocean observations is fundamental to any effort to predict long-term ramifications of sea-ice loss for marine mammals (Grebmeier et al., 2010). ...
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Key Findings • The decline in Arctic summer sea-ice extent has accelerated over the past ten years. The retreat is faster than previously predicted by IPCC models and summer ice-free conditions are likely over most of the Arctic basin by mid-century or earlier. • Newly developed estimates of sea-ice age, basin-scale sea-ice thickness, and sea-ice volume indicate thinning of the ice cover and loss of old ice types. • Recent research has better quantified some interactions between the sea ice, ocean, and atmosphere, particularly during the extreme summer ice loss of 2007. • Predictions of seasonal sea-ice extent are highly variable on a regional basis. Environmental conditions and bathymetry are also highly variable on a regional basis. In combination, these factors will strongly affect the impacts of climate warming on Arctic biological systems. • The extinction of some Arctic endemic species is likely if current sea-ice trends continue. These losses will represent biodiversity losses of global significance, and reverse millions of years of evolutionary change (since the beginning of the Pleistocene). Northward range expansions for some temperate species and potentially greater overall productivity will enhance foraging opportunities for some animals within High Arctic areas, at a cost to Arctic endemic populations. • The responses of Arctic endemic cetaceans to changing sea-ice conditions will be influenced by food availability, competition from non-endemic migrant cetaceans and, in some regions, the potential for increased predation from killer whales. • Indigenous and some local peoples have been challenged by changes in sea ice and those challenges will continue into the future. • Reduced seasonal sea-ice presence is already leading to greater shoreline exposure to open water and storm waves. These changes impose greater wave and erosion hazards for shoreline, infrastructure, waterfront structures, and cultural heritage sites in some places. • Loss of sea ice is increasing interest in access and resource rights, such as shipping, resource extraction, military operations, and tourism, which will have impacts across a wide-range of issues. • Hazards related to sea-ice movement (ride-up and pile- up) onshore are known to have caused fatalities and significant infrastructure damage in the past. • There are clear limits to any Arctic governance regime (regulatory or soft-law). The drivers of sea-ice change and its consequences occur largely outside the region and fall beyond the jurisdiction of any one Arctic state, and responding to sea-ice change creates profound governance challenges
... Indigenous peoples' observations of changing climate conditions are generally consistent with Western scientific observations (Cruikshank 2001;Huntington et al. 2006;Crate 2008;Turner & Clifton 2009). For example, Inuit and First Nations communities in Canada have recorded declines in their traditional food sources, such as ringed seals, caribou and walrus (Metcalf & Robards 2008;Kapsch, Eicken & Robards 2010). Inuit hunters observe that the weather is becoming less predictable and more variable (Ford et al. 2010;Pearce et al. 2011). ...
... The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is a sea-iceassociated pinniped that ranges over the continental shelves of the Bering and Chukchi seas [1]. Walruses play a major ecological role in Beringia [2] and provide an important cultural and subsistence resource for coastal communities in Alaska and Chukotka [3]. Walrus life history is closely tied to sea ice, particularly for females and young because they use sea ice for most of the year. ...
Article
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During Arctic summers, sea ice provides resting habitat for Pacific walruses as it drifts over foraging areas in the eastern Chukchi Sea. Climate-driven reductions in sea ice have recently created ice-free conditions in the Chukchi Sea by late summer causing walruses to rest at coastal haulouts along the Chukotka and Alaska coasts, which provides an opportunity to study walruses at relatively accessible locations. Walrus age can be determined from the ratio of tusk length to snout dimensions. We evaluated use of images obtained from a gyro-stabilized video system mounted on a helicopter flying at high altitudes (to avoid disturbance) to classify the sex and age of walruses hauled out on Alaska beaches in 2010–2011. We were able to classify 95% of randomly selected individuals to either an 8- or 3-category age class, and we found measurement-based age classifications were more repeatable than visual classifications when using images presenting the correct head profile. Herd density at coastal haulouts averaged 0.88 walruses/m2 (std. err. = 0.02), herd size ranged from 8,300 to 19,400 (CV 0.03–0.06) and we documented ,30,000 animals along ,1 km of beach in 2011. Within the herds, dependent walruses (0–2 yr-olds) tended to be located closer to water, and this tendency became more pronounced as the herd spent more time on the beach. Therefore, unbiased estimation of herd age-ratios will require a sampling design that allows for spatial and temporal structuring. In addition, randomly sampling walruses available at the edge of the herd for other purposes (e.g., tagging, biopsying) will not sample walruses with an age structure representative of the herd. Sea ice losses are projected to continue, and population age structure data collected with aerial videography at coastal haulouts may provide demographic information vital to ongoing efforts to understand effects of climate change on this species.
... This is already a concern in Northwest Greenland, where walruses were historically inaccessible to hunters because of heavy ice, but are now increasingly available to hunters in small boats because of the open ice conditions (Born 2005). However, conversely in the northern Bering Sea, walrus hunting has been curtailed by the speed of the retreating sea ice in recent years (Metcalf and Robards 2008). There are serious concerns for the future of the two circumpolar high Arctic, endemic phocid seals, the bearded seal and the ringed seal. ...
Article
Arctic sea ice has changed dramatically, espe-cially during the last decade and continued declines in extent and thickness are expected for the decades to come. Some ice-associated marine mammals are already showing distribution shifts, compromised body condition and declines in production/abundance in response to sea-ice declines. In contrast, temperate marine mammal species are showing northward expansions of their ranges, which are likely to cause competitive pressure on some endemic Arctic species, as well as putting them at greater risk of predation, disease and parasite infections. The negative impacts observed to date within Arctic marine mammal populations are expected to continue and perhaps escalate over the coming decade, with continued declines in seasonal coverage of sea ice. This situation presents a significant risk to marine biodiversity among endemic Arctic marine mammals.
... Marine mammals are top predators that structure arctic marine ecosystems and are an important source of food and cultural identity for arctic peoples (Metcalf andRobards 2008, Moore and. Sea ice is central to arctic marine mammal habitats , as it provides a platform for hunting, rearing young and resting for 'ice-obligate' species (e.g. ...
... The Bering Strait region is home to Chukchi, Iñupiaq, St. Lawrence Island, Siberian Yupik, and Yup'ik communities. People have inhabited the area for millennia, and continue traditional cultural practices tied to the marine environment [14,[51][52][53]. Local residents and their communities will be impacted both directly and indirectly by vessel traffic in the Bering Strait region [3]. ...
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Commercial vessel traffic through the Bering Strait is increasing. This region has high biological and cultural significance, to which commercial shipping poses several risks. For this environment, these risks include ship strikes of whales, noise disturbance, chronic pollution, and oil spills. Indigenous Chukchi, Iñupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Siberian Yupik, and Yup’ik peoples may be affected by proximity between small hunting boats and large commercial vessels leading to swamping or collisions, through displacement of animals or impacts to food security from contaminants, and through loss of cultural heritage if archeological sites and other important places are disturbed by wakes or an increase in people spending time on shore. Several measures are available to govern shipping through the region, including shipping lanes, Areas to Be Avoided (ATBAs), speed restrictions, communications measures, reporting systems, emissions controls, oil spill prevention and preparedness and salvage, rescue tug capability, voyage and contingency planning, and improved charting. These measures can be implemented in various ways, unilaterally by the U.S. or Russia, bilaterally, or internationally through the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Regulatory measures can be established as voluntary measures or as mandatory measures. No single measure will address all risks, but the framework presented herein may serve as a means of identifying what needs to be done and evaluating whether the goal of safe shipping has been achieved.
... 187 The role of Native Alaskans in the management of walrus has also increased, and their concern for the health of the walrus population is widely articulated. 188 Several factors restrict the harvest of walrus beyond the threat of USFWS Law Enforcement actions. Existing social norms recognize what waste is, and the elders and the EWC discourage such waste. ...
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Alaska Natives from coastal communities are exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act's general moratorium on the take of marine mammals for non-depleted species such as walrus, and are allowed to harvest them for subsistence and handicrafts, pro-vided it is not done in a wasteful manner. Native harvests of walrus are currently not restricted in number, since walrus are not classified as legally depleted, and thus the Native exemption for walrus harvest is largely managed through the requirement of preventing waste. However, waste is not clearly defined within the statute with respect to hunting practices, salvage, or utilization. Accordingly, interpretation has been ambiguous, and enforcement arbitrary, contributing to the disconnect between policy, management, and local conditions. We contend that a focus on the value-laden and largely intractable goal of defining "waste" as a management tool has done little to protect walrus, while eroding trust between hunters and managers. In addition, a focus on values and semantics overshadows other more substantive goals, such as: (1) the conservation of Pacific walrus, (2) the practical 172 OCEAN AND COASTAL LAW JOURNAL [Vol. 13:2 1. 16 U.S.C. 1361-1421 (2000). 2. Id. 1379(a) (allowing state authority over regulation only in the event that the Secretary has "transferred authority" to the state). 3. See Laura Lones, The Marine Mammal Protection Act and International Protection of Cetaceans: A Unilateral Attempt to Effectuate Transnational Conservation, 22 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 997 (1989). 4. 16 U.S.C. 1361(6). management of the walrus population, and (3) the support of Alaska Natives who rely on walrus for their cultural and economic livelihoods. We address alternative interpretations of "waste," addressing specifically contemporary conditions, the intent of the statute, and the long history of the waste issue that predates the MMPA. In the future, these issues are likely to become more profound if the walrus population is legally found to be depleted, if courts rule that current harvesting rules are statutorily invalid, or if the soon-to-be-reauthorized MMPA is amended, allowing pre-depletion regulation of the subsistence harvest.
... Female walruses with dependent calves may be most adversely affected by declines in prey quantity or quality due to their higher energetic demands (Barboza et al. 2009). Ongoing monitoring efforts have revealed declines in fecundity and lipid stores among female walruses (Garlich-Miller et al. 2006) and increased calf abandonment related to poor sea ice conditions (Metcalf and Robards 2008). The magnitude of these impacts will be dependent on whether the severity and extent of alterations in the prey base exceeds walrus dietary plasticity (Barboza et al. 2009). ...
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During nutritionally stressful situations, Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) may switch from preying on benthic invertebrates to higher trophic-level prey (HTLP) (e.g., pinnipeds and/or seabirds). We applied a Bayesian mixing model to stable isotope (C and N) data from analyses of various tissues (tongue and lumbar muscle, skin, and liver) to quantify the proportional contribution of HTLP to walruses (n = 293 individuals). The mode contribution of HTLP to walrus diet was similar to 22 % (+/- 10 %) based on muscle mixing models, which is consistent with results from contaminant studies of Atlantic walruses (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), but higher than estimates based on historical stomach content analyses of Pacific walruses. A broader range in the proportion of HTLP (0-60 %) shown by mixing models using stable isotope data from liver and skin of walruses indicated they pursue an opportunistic foraging strategy. Data from the HTLP-consuming walruses were comparable with our stable isotope data of a known "seal-eating" walrus. No significant difference was evident between the estimated contributions of HTLP to the diet of male versus female walruses (P > 0.01). This finding suggests that changes in diet base for walruses are not influenced by the sex of the predator.
... Seeking solutions, Robards et al. (2009) suggest an ecosystem-based approach supporting learning and adaptation to reflect (i) known ecological needs of walrus at specific spatial scales; (ii) observed conditions at those scales; and (iii) predicted changes in the walrus ecosystem. Such a program would require the participation of communities who are more intimately involved with walrus than are most managers and scientists (Krupnik & Ray, 2007; Metcalf & Robards, 2008 ). However, full participation is unlikely without a meaningful Alaska Native role in problem definition and decision making, as for comanagement of Western Arctic Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus). ...
Article
Governance arrangements such as comanagement are regarded by many as promising arenas for effective natural resource management. However, measuring comanagement's success at achieving conservation goals has been equivocal. Our research evaluates the lack of conclusive outcomes through a critical consideration of how different goals and values inherent in comanagement affect the institutional (or policy) diagnostic of “fit.” More narrowly, sustaining natural resources requires that management policies foster fit between the scales of sociopolitical processes governing resource use and the scales of ecological processes regulating a resource. Without a process that encourages such harmonization, theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that comanagement regimes are unlikely to accomplish long-term conservation goals. We use a case study of walrus comanagement under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act to demonstrate that when the formal institutions preconditioning comanagement do not develop out of a deliberative process among comanagement partners, two major problems can arise: (i) Policy institutions mismatch ecological and social processes relevant to resources and communities; and (ii) data to assess the fit of institutions and support learning is more difficult to acquire. In our case study, both these factors constrain the ability of comanagement to foster walrus conservation or support the capacity of Native Alaskans to adapt to contemporary social and environmental conditions. Our research concludes that to achieve marine mammal conservation, previous institutional arrangements framing comanagement that are predicated on static conceptions of people and ecosystems must be redesigned to provide better policy fit across local to international priorities. To do so requires opening up deliberative spaces, where Western science and priorities are confronted with indigenous perspectives. However, the benefit of enhancing deliberation carries risks and costs related to trade-offs between the values of democratic process, and protections for both wildlife species and indigenous groups.
... The potential for synergisms arising from changes in human access and increased efficacy of wildlife harvest resulting from climate change, and climate change itself, in the dynamics of wildlife populations is currently underappreciated. In arctic Alaska, human exploitation of Pacific walrus is vulnerable to adverse climatic conditions [12], while stranding of walrus on shorelines after unexpectedly early and rapid sea ice retreat, reported twice in the past several years, may leave them more vulnerable to exploitation or harassment [13]. In northeast Greenland, recent increases in numbers of narwhal harvested annually do not apparently relate to increased effort but instead to increased ease of access by hunters to narwhals in Smith Sound, likely as a result of changing sea ice conditions [14]. ...
Article
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The consequences for wildlife conservation of climate change facilitation of human access to currently remote areas are poorly considered but potentially significant. Focusing on species of cultural and conservation concern in the Arctic and Tropics, we advocate a re-evaluation of the process of assigning protected area status to account for such risks. We identify areas currently lacking protected status in both regions that are prone to loss of wildlife habitat due to increased human access and direct climate change, and outline measures for updating their conservation status. Policy foresight along these lines will help buffer wildlife against previously unanticipated consequences of climate change.
... . However, the social conditions on the Russian side of the Bering Strait became dire as the Soviet Union collapsed. Generous central subsidies for Siberian villages eroded and indigenous peoples found themselves relying on subsistence foods such as polar bears and walrus for an even greater share of their diet than previously, despite harvest bans [42]. ...
Article
Arctic coastal communities in the Bering Strait region of Alaska (USA) and Chukotka (Russia) share a close relationship with their natural environments that can be characterized as a social–ecological system. This system is complex, featuring changing ecosystem conditions, multiple jurisdictions, migratory animal populations, and several cultures. We argue that linkages between communities in both countries enhance the effectiveness of transborder polar bear and walrus conservation. We find that locally embedded bilateral institutions can provide effective management venues that persist despite slow or lacking processes of international law because they provide a better fit between rules for managing and the true system state.
... A promising application of the principles within CPK could be the context of natural resource management practices and approaches. Many of the tools used to manage natural resources were built-into legislation from western frameworks based in science (e.g., Marine Mammal Protection Act 2019 and definitions of populations and models of population growth) rather than from Indigenous worldviews (Stevenson 2004, Metcalf and Robards 2008, Daniel 2019, Graugaard 2020. The management (both science and decision making) of land animals (e.g., moose and caribou), birds (e.g., migratory fowl), fish (e.g., salmon), and marine mammals relies on inequitable spaces created by agencies prioritizing or solely utilizing western scientific concepts such as population estimates, mortality, and reproduction rates (Iain Davidson-Hunt and O 'Flaherty 2007, Raymond-Yakoubian 2012, McCarthy et al. 2014, Snook et al. 2018, MMC 2019, ICC AK 2020. ...
Article
The Arctic has been home to Indigenous Peoples from time immemorial. Distinct Indigenous worldviews and complex knowledge systems have been passed on from generation to generation, evolving over time in a living process that continues to this day. Indigenous Peoples' knowledge systems hold methodologies and assessment processes that provide pathways for knowing and understanding the Arctic, which address all aspects of life, including the spiritual, cultural, and ecological, all in interlinked and supporting ways. For too long, Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic and their knowledges have not been equitably included in many research activities. We argue for systematic change in how research-related activities are conducted in the Arctic. Bringing together multiple knowledge systems, specifically Indigenous Peoples' knowledge systems and science, can lead to more equitable, inclusive, and useful outcomes. The co-production of knowledge framework that we forward is designed to assist researchers, decision makers, and communities in moving toward those goals. Given increased interest in the Arctic by the research community, the complex, rapid, and ongoing change in Arctic systems, and amidst renewed and urgent calls for equity globally and across all spheres of life, adoption of a co-production of knowledge framework for the conduct of Arctic research is timely as well as a moral and intellectual imperative. Further, solutions to challenges facing the Arctic and global community are enhanced by the combined understanding of Indigenous Peoples' knowledges and science.
... With increases in human activity and changes in walrus behavior due to reduced sea ice, knowing how many walruses could be affected by human activities in the northeastern Chukchi Sea would be useful to federal agencies responsible for the protection of walruses and their habitat as required under various legislations (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and National Environmental Policy Act). These protections are particularly important, because walruses are a significant component of the Chukchi Sea ecosystem and a substantial subsistence resource for Native coastal communities in Alaska and Chukotka, Russia (Fay et al. 1997;Metcalf and Robards 2008). ...
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Increased periods of sparse sea ice over the continental shelf of the Chukchi Sea in late summer have reduced offshore haulout habitat for Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) and increased opportunities for human activities in the region. Knowing how many walruses could be affected by human activities would be useful to conservation decisions. Currently, there are no adequate estimates of walrus abundance in the northeastern Chukchi Sea during summer–early autumn. Estimating abundance in autumn might be possible from coastal surveys of hauled out walruses during periods when offshore sea ice is unavailable to walruses. We evaluated methods to estimate the size of the walrus population that was using a haulout on the coast of northwestern Alaska in autumn by using aerial photography to count the number of hauled out walruses (herd size) and data from 37 tagged walruses to estimate availability (proportion of population hauled out). We used two methods to estimate availability, direct proportions of hauled out tagged walruses and smoothed proportions using local polynomial regression. Point estimates of herd size (4200–38,000 walruses) and total population size (76,000–287,000 walruses) ranged widely among days and between the two methods of estimating availability. Estimates of population size were influenced most by variation in estimates of availability. Coastal surveys might be improved most by counting walruses when the greatest numbers are hauled out, thereby reducing the influence of availability on population size estimates. The chance of collecting data during peak haulout periods would be improved by conducting multiple surveys.
... In some areas of the Arctic, one means of doing this is to form research partnerships with Arctic residents that rely on marine mammals for subsistence. These collaborations provide access for attachment of satellite transmitters to track animal movements and, via harvest monitoring, to investigate changes in diet, body condition and contaminant burdens concomitant with ecosystem variability (Metcalf and Robards, 2008;Moore and Huntington, 2008). Integration of findings from community-based investigations with those from ocean observations is fundamental to any effort to predict long-term ramifications of sea-ice loss for marine mammals (Grebmeier et al., 2010). ...
... Likewise, stranding of ice-dependent species on land likely reduces their survival or reproductive rates and will change their availability to subsistence hunters. Relationships among ice-edge retreat, changes in plankton dynamics, loss of summer sea ice, and foraging success of whales and ice-dependent species are poorly understood (Moore and Huntington 2008;Kovacs et al. 2011), as are the effects of these changes on Alaska Natives who depend upon such species (Metcalf and Robards 2008). In the initial study region (Fig. 3.1.1) ...
Technical Report
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... Western resource management often focuses on population size and health (Metcalf and Robards 2008;Nadasdy 2007), formal regulations, outside scold people who did not properly retrieve or care for their catch, and that elders could also intervene and tell others when to stop harvesting and how to hunt, butcher, or share. Some local experts noted that they still get direction about these matters from elders. ...
Article
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Western resource management is often contentious in northern indigenous communities, as it is can be poorly matched with local resource-use traditions. Expert seal and walrus hunters in the Bering Strait region of Alaska requested that Kawerak, Inc., a local tribal consortium, document seal and walrus hunting through the lens of the locally preferred framework of respect. We conducted semistructured interviews and focus groups with 84 expert elders and hunters regarding seal and walrus hunting and use. Local respectful hunting and use practices focused on appropriate relationships between humans and between humans and animals; traditional values; knowledge of seals, walruses, and environmental conditions; hunting and processing skills; and avoiding pollution. Experts explained this system was best transmitted through hands-on activities that build youth skills, values, and relationships with elders and adults. The respect framework and positive system of transmission through education differs markedly from Western resource management frameworks based on regulation and enforcement. © 2015 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
... The scope of indigenous knowledge (IK) encompasses the health of the human-marine mammal relationship (e.g. Metcalf andRobards 2008, Ostertag et al 2018). Specifically, IK integrates observations of the environment, animals, and human health that have been shared and evaluated over generations of continual human habitation in focused spatial regions (e.g. ...
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Marine mammals respond to, and thereby reflect, changes in Arctic ecosystems that are important both to practitioners of conventional science (CS) and to holders of indigenous knowledge (IK). Although often seen as contrasting approaches to tracking ecosystem variability, when CS and IK are combined they can provide complementary and synergistic information. Despite exceptions, ecosystem-focused CS is often spatially broad and time shallow (1000 s km, decades) while IK is comparatively narrow spatially and time deep (10 s km, centuries). In addition, differences in how information is gathered, stored, applied and communicated can confound information integration from these two knowledge systems. Over the past four decades, research partnerships between CS practitioners and IK holders have provided novel insights to an Alaskan Arctic marine ecosystem in rapid transition. We identify insights from some of those projects, as they relate to changes in sea ice, oceanography, and more broadly to marine mammal ecology and health. From those insights and the protocols of existing community-based programs, we suggest that the strong seasonal cycle of Arctic environmental events should be leveraged as a shared framework to provide common ground for communication when developing projects related to marine mammal health and ecology. Adopting a shared temporal framework would foster joint CS–IK thinking and support the development of novel and nonlinear approaches to shared questions and concerns regarding marine mammals. The overarching goal is to extend the range and depth of a common understanding of marine mammal health and ecology during a period of rapid ecosystem alteration. The current focus on CS–IK co-production of knowledge and recent inclusion of marine mammals as essential variables in global ocean observatories makes this an opportune time to find common ground for understanding and adapting to the rapid changes now underway in Arctic marine ecosystems.
... (Ford et al., 2008: 54) In relation to the DAPSIWRM framework, capturing the linkages of "living resources" to both state and driver variables means that decision makers must manage for multiple objectives. For example, the human-walrus relationship that functions as the means of experience-as-cultural existence for Inuit in the Bering Strait region (detailed in Metcalf and Robards, 2008) is directly affected by drivers such as subsistence food and industrial fisheries markets as well as feedbacks from the measures taken by resource managers in relation to state and driver variables. The concept of food sovereignty, in which indigenous peoples are the ultimate stewards of their food sources (Fig. 5), is both a goal of the ICC as well as other indigenous peoples and recognition of this standpoint would perhaps turn upside down the current "balance" between dominant governmental acceptance of industrial uses of the coast and the living resources of the people living there. ...
... These stakeholder groups included: government representatives from various departments and jurisdictional levels (e.g., [66,72,75,87,116]); health authorities (e.g., [67,92,113,121]); industry managers (e.g., [96,100,112,129]); researchers across distinct disciplines (e.g., [63,84,85]); and community members (e.g., [70,86,109,134]). Articles described how involving multiple stakeholder groups within integrated surveillance systems could help establish rigorous, transparent methods of addressing environmental and human health concerns that stakeholders were willing and able to support (e.g., [114,117]). Articles also described how engaging with and drawing upon knowledge systems of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, governments, and communities could help strengthen surveillance capacity to gain a more representative, holistic picture of the interconnected impacts of climate and environmental changes on human wellbeing (e.g., [70,106,122,141]). ...
Article
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Environments are shifting rapidly in the Circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic regions as a result of climate change and other external stressors, and this has a substantial impact on the health of northern populations. Thus, there is a need for integrated surveillance systems designed to monitor the impacts of climate change on human health outcomes as part of broader adaptation strategies in these regions. This review aimed to identify, describe, and synthesize literature on integrated surveillance systems in Circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic regions, that are used for research or practice. Following a systematic realist review approach, relevant articles were identified using search strings developed for MEDLINE® and Web of Science™ databases, and screened by two independent reviewers. Articles that met the inclusion criteria were retained for descriptive quantitative analysis, as well as thematic qualitative analysis, using a realist lens. Of the 3431 articles retrieved in the database searches, 85 met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Thematic analysis identified components of integrated surveillance systems that were categorized into three main groups: structural, processual, and relational components. These components were linked to surveillance attributes and activities that supported the operations and management of integrated surveillance. This review advances understandings of the distinct contributions of integrated surveillance systems and data to discerning the nature of changes in climate and environmental conditions that affect population health outcomes and determinants in the Circumpolar North. Findings from this review can be used to inform the planning, design, and evaluation of integrated surveillance systems that support evidence-based public health research and practice in the context of increasing climate change and the need for adaptation.
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The chapter discusses the main outcomes of 3 years (2006–2007, 2007–2008, 2008–2009) of systematic observation of ice and weather conditions in the community of Gambell (Sivuqaq) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The 3-year recording of ice and weather in Gambell by local monitors was a part of a larger observation effort under the SIKU project. Observers from eight communities in Alaska and Russian Chukotka took daily notes of ice and weather around their home areas for several consecutive winters. Data from Gambell are the longest and the most comprehensive within this larger SIKU data set. Observations by local monitors reveal a very complex signal of change that often differs by season or location, even among the nearby communities. The 3-year record of ice and weather observations offers new insight to Arctic climate and ice scientists. It will also help Arctic residents document their cultural tradition, ice use, and knowledge in the time of rapid environmental and social change. KeywordsSea ice-Local observations-Gambell-Alaska-Indigenous knowledge
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Keywords: co-production of knowledge; Indigenous Peoples' knowledge; ellam yua; research; Indigenous; Arctic; equity; collaboration; partnerships Yup’ik Arcaqalriit (Yup’ik Abstract): Imukenirnek Negeq likacagaat [makuni igani “Arctic”] nutem tamakumiunek ciulialget nunaketuit. Ukanirpak nutem tamakumiunek ciulialget ukveruciteng ellameng-llu tungiinun elitelteng kinguvallrukait piinanermeggni man’a engelkarrluku cimirturluteng. Nutem Negeqlikacaarmiunek ciulialget elitellermegteggun nunameng tungiitnun nallunritlerkameggnun yuvrillerkameggnun-llu piyararluteng kangingnauryararluteng-llu, yuucimeggni tamalkuita cat yuita, piciryarameng, ellam-llu tungiinun atunem ilakluki. Ukanirpak nutem Negeqlikacaarmiunek ciulialget elitellrit tapeqluki ilangcinrilkurtessiyaagluki kangingnautuut. Negeqlikacaarni Kass’at kangingnauryaraita piciryarait cimiisqumaaput. Ayuqenrilnguut elitellritgun, arcaqerluki nutem Negeqlikacaarmiunek ciulialget Kass’at-llu kangingnauryarait tapeqluki, atunem pitallgutekluki kinkunun cangallrunrilngurnek, ilakuralrianek, atuunruarkaulrianek-llu kingungqerrarkauluteng. Yuullgutkenrilnguut Negeqlikacaarmiunek ciulialget Kass’at-llu elitellritgun atunem caliyaraq, makut igaqeput tamatum tungiinun ikayuutnguarkauluteng. Kangingnaurtet caungengatki Negeqlikacagaat, tamakumiuni-llu ayuqenrilngurteggun cukamek cimirturalriit, cali-llu ellam tamiini yuut tamalkuita pitalkelluki pisqeńgatki, ayuqenrilnguut elitellritgun atunem caliyaraq Negeqlikacaarni pinariluni, elluarluni, elitnaulrianun-llu nancunaunani. Cali-llu Negeqlikacagaat ellam-llu tamiini arenqiallugutaita kitugutkait, atunem nutem Negeqlikacaarmiunek ciulialget Kass’at-llu kangingnauryarateng aturluki elluanruut. Cali-llu Negeqlikacagaat ellam-llu tamiini arenqiallugutaita kitugutkait, atunem nutem Negeqlikacaarmiunek ciulialget Kass’at-llu kangingnauryarateng aturluki elluanruut. English Abstract: The Arctic has been home to Indigenous Peoples from time immemorial. Distinct Indigenous worldviews and complex knowledge systems have been passed on from generation to generation, evolving over time in a living process which continues to this day. Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge systems hold methodologies and assessment processes that provide pathways for knowing and understanding the Arctic which address all aspects of life, including the spiritual, cultural, and ecological, all in interlinked and supporting ways. For too long, Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic and their knowledges have not been equitably included in many research activities. We argue for systematic change in how research-related activities are conducted in the Arctic. Bringing together multiple knowledge systems - specifically Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge systems and science - can lead to more equitable, inclusive, and useful outcomes. The co-production of knowledge framework which we forward in this paper is designed to assist researchers, decision-makers, and communities in moving towards those goals. Given increased interest in the Arctic by the research community, the complex, rapid, and ongoing change in Arctic systems, and amidst renewed and urgent calls for equity globally and across all spheres of life, adoption of a co-production of knowledge framework for the conduct of Arctic research is timely as well as a moral and intellectual imperative. Further, solutions to challenges facing the Arctic and global community are enhanced by the combined understanding of Indigenous Peoples’ knowledges and science.
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The Arctic is one of the world’s regions most affected by cultural, socio-economic, environmental, and climatic changes. Over the last two decades, scholars, policymakers, extractive industries, governments, intergovernmental forums, and non-governmental organizations have turned their attention to the Arctic, its peoples, resources, and to the challenges and benefits of impending transformations. Arctic sustainability is an issue of increasing concern as well as the resilience and adaptation of Arctic societies to changing conditions. This book offers key insights into the history, current state of knowledge and the future of sustainability, and sustainable development research in the Arctic. Written by an international, interdisciplinary team of experts, it presents a comprehensive progress report on Arctic sustainability research. It identifies key knowledge gaps and provides salient recommendations for prioritizing research in the next decade. Arctic Sustainability Research will appeal to researchers, academics, and policymakers interested in sustainability science and the practices of sustainable development, as well as those working in polar studies, climate change, political geography, and the history of science. © 2017 Andrey N. Petrov, Shauna BurnSilver, F. Stuart Chapin III, Gail Fondahl, Jessica K. Graybill, Kathrin Keil, Annika E. Nilsson, Rudolf Riedlsperger, and Peter Schweitzer.
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Local and traditional ecological knowledge (LTK) is increasingly recognized as an important component of scientific research, conservation, and resource management. Especially where there are gaps in the scientific literature, LTK can be a critical source of basic environmental data; this situation is particularly apparent in the case of marine ecosystems, about which comparatively less is known than terrestrial ones. We surveyed the global literature relating to the LTK of marine environments and analyzed what knowledge has been collected and with what aims and results. A large proportion of LTK which has been documented by researchers consists of species-specific information that is important for traditional resource use. However, knowledge relating to marine ecology, environmental change, and contemporary resource management practices is increasingly emphasized in the literature. Today, marine LTK is being used to provide historical and contemporary baseline information, suggest stewardship techniques, improve conservation planning and practice, and to resolve management disputes. Still, comparatively few studies are geared toward the practicalities of developing a truly collaborative, adaptive, and resilient management infrastructure that is embracive of modern science and LTK and practices in marine environments. Based on the literature, we thus suggest how such an infrastructure might be advanced through collaborative projects and "bridging" institutions that highlight the importance of trust-building and the involvement of communities in all stages of research, and the importance of shared interest in project objectives, settings (seascapes), and outcomes.
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Pinniped diversity is greatest in seasonally ice-covered seas where the risk of predation is minimised. In recent decades, the thickness and extent of seasonal ice cover has decreased in the Arctic, and climate models predict that positive feedback from melting ice covers will result in rapid warming in the polar regions. Correlational studies linking arctic marine mammals to climate change are limited by inadequate time series of population counts. Increased understanding of the ecology of individual species is needed as the bases for testable hypotheses. Potential effects of arctic warming on marine mammals have been discussed in terms of decreased areal extent of the ice, but the most immediate effects may result from more subtle changes in the distribution of ice and snow that affect the ecology of individual species. Ringed seals and wafruses are strongly associated with seasonal sea ice and illustrate ecological differences that influence their vulnerability to warming in the Arctic. Earlier snowmelts may prematurely destroy subnivean lairs subjecting ringed seal pups to adverse weather and increased predation. Decreases in the summer extent of arctic sea ice may decrease the Pacific wafruses’ access to food and increase their exposure to polar bear predation.
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Community natural resource management (CNRM) has been extensively promoted in recent years as an approach for pursuing biological conservation and socioeconomic objectives. The rationale for CNRM is often compelling and convincing. Relatively little data exists, however, regarding its implementation, particularly the reconciliation of social and environmental goals. This article summarizes empirical evidence regarding the implementation of CNRM, based on five case studies in Nepal, the U.S. states of Alaska and Washington, and Kenya. Six social and environmental indicators are used to evaluate and compare these cases, including equity, empowerment, conflict resolution, knowledge and awareness, biodiversity protection, and sustainable resource utilization. The results of this analysis indicate that, despite sincere attempts and some success, serious deficiencies are widely evident. In especially Nepal and Kenya, CNRM rarely resulted in more equitable distribution of power and economic benefits, reduced conflict, increased consideration of traditional or modern environmental knowledge, protection of biological diversity, or sustainable resource use. By contrast, CNRM in the North American cases was more successful. Institutional, environmental, and organizational factors help explain the observed differences.
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Contemporary Western attitudes concerning the management of natural re- sources, treatment of nonhuman animals, and the natural world emerge from traditions derived from Western European philosophy, i.e., they assume that humans are autonomous from, and in control of, the natural world. A different approach is presented by Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of indigenous peoples of North America. Although spiritually oriented, TEK converges on Western scientific approaches. TEK is based on close obser- vation of nature and natural phenomena; however, it is combined with a concept of com- munity membership that differs from that of Western political and social thought. TEK is strongly tied to specific physical localities; therefore, all aspects of the physical space can be considered part of the community, including animals, plants, and landforms. As a con- sequence, native worldviews can be considered to be spatially oriented, in contrast to the temporal orientation of Western political and historical thought. TEK also emphasizes the idea that individual plants and animals exist on their own terms. This sense of place and concern for individuals leads to two basic TEK concepts: (1) all things are connected, which is conceptually related to Western community ecology, and (2) all things are related, which changes the emphasis from the human to the ecological community as the focus of theories concerning nature. Connectedness and relatedness are involved in the clan systems of many indigenous peoples, where nonhuman organisms are recognized as relatives whom the humans are obliged to treat with respect and honor. Convergence of TEK and Western science suggests that there may be areas in which TEK can contribute insights, or possibly even new concepts, to Western science. TEK is inherently multidisciplinary in that it links the human and the nonhuman, and is the basis not only for indigenous concepts of nature, but also for concepts of indigenous politics and ethics. This multidisciplinary aspect sug- gests that TEK may be useful in resolving conflicts involving a variety of stakeholders and interest groups in controversies over natural resource use, animal rights, and conservation. TEK may also have implications for human behavior and obligations toward other forms of life that are often unrecognized, or at least not emphasized, in Western science. We present examples from community and behavioral ecology where a TEK-based approach yielded unexpected and nonintuitive insights into natural phenomena. Understanding of TEK may be useful in helping scientists respond to the changing public perceptions of science, and new cultural pressures in our society.
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The Pacific walrus population has been depleted and subsequently allowed to recover three times in the past 150 yr. As we see it, the population has been made to fluctuate like an r-selected species, rather than being maintained at a high, stable level, as befits a K-selected species. The latest depletion began in the 1930s but was not recognized until 25 yr later, by which time the population had been reduced by at least half. Without benefit of communication, the U.S.S.R. and the State of Alaska put similar protective measures into place by 1960, and in the next two decades the walrus population recovered again, at least doubling in size. By 1980, it already was showing density-dependent signs of having approached or reached the carrying capacity of its environment. As productivity and calf survival declined sharply in the late 1970s and early 1980s the catches more than doubled. We believe that the combined effects of natural curtailment and human intervention may be bringing the population down again rather rapidly. With the present, crude monitoring methods, delayed management responses, and poor international communications, however, the downward trend may not be acknowledged for at least another decade, by which time the unilateral Soviet and American corrective measures are likely to be too much, too late. Walrus management needs to be based less on response to immediate crisis and more on long term prediction than it has been in the past. Because the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. are trying to manage the same walrus population, without sufficient communication or consensus and sometimes to opposite ends, an international joint management program needs to be implemented.
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"The term 'fisheries co-management' has now been so broadly used in applied settings and in social science that it risks losing important aspects of its original thrust. In addition, as social science thinking about management in general has evolved over the last two decades, we have all refined and enriched the way we see this concept. For the concept to remain useful, I argue that it should become more specific and complex instead of more general and generic. In the discussion below I attempt to reevaluate, and reorganize a few key dimensions of this term into a form that is more theoretically useful for dealing with complexity. I use the evolution of my own research and thinking on fisheries co-management over the last 15 years as a means of attempting to hone and revitalize the term. Also, in dialogue with colleagues, I suggest key alternative perspectives about what meaning we should assign the phrase."
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Emerging recognition of two fundamental errors underpinning past polices for natural resource issues heralds awareness of the need for a worldwide fundamental change in thinking and in practice of environmental management. The first error has been an implicit assumption that ecosystem responses to human use are linear, predictable and controllable. The second has been an assumption that human and natural systems can be treated independently. However, evidence that has been accumulating in diverse regions all over the world suggests that natural and social systems behave in nonlinear ways, exhibit marked thresholds in their dynamics, and that social-ecological systems act as strongly coupled, complex and evolving integrated systems. This article is a summary of a report prepared on behalf of the Environmental Advisory Council to the Swedish Government, as input to the process of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 26 August 4 September 2002. We use the concept of resilience--the capacity to buffer change, learn and develop--as a framework for understanding how to sustain and enhance adaptive capacity in a complex world of rapid transformations. Two useful tools for resilience-building in social-ecological systems are structured scenarios and active adaptive management. These tools require and facilitate a social context with flexible and open institutions and multi-level governance systems that allow for learning and increase adaptive capacity without foreclosing future development options.
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Recent environmental changes are having, and are expected to continue to have, significant impacts in the Arctic as elsewhere in the world. Detecting those changes and determining the mechanisms that cause them are far from trivial problems. The use of multiple methods of observation can increase confidence in individual observations, broaden the scope of information available about environmental change, and contribute to insights concerning mechanisms of change. In this paper, we examine the ways that using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) together with scientific observations can achieve these objectives. A review of TEK observations in comparison with scientific observations demonstrates the promise of this approach, while also revealing several challenges to putting it into practice on a large scale. Further efforts are suggested, particularly in undertaking collaborative projects designed to produce parallel observations that can be readily compared and analyzed in greater detail than is possible in an opportunistic sample.
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Abstract Small regional communities are having widely different experiences of globalisation but many share dependent relations with corporations and governments. Those which are under threat are often finding themselves dependent on their own resources, including the leadership of local people. This article compares the interpretations of change and the experiences of local leaders in two geographically and historically diverse situations. It finds that despite such diversity, there are similarities of experience. It concludes with some consideration given to state policy regarding community leadership, tempering a view that leadership can provide solutions to regional decline.
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Advocates of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) have promoted its use in scientific research, impact assessment, and ecological understanding. While several examples illustrate the utility of applying TEK in these contexts, wider application of TEK-derived information remains elusive. In part, this is due to continued inertia in favor of established scientific practices and the need to describe TEK in Western scientific terms. In part, it is also due to the difficulty of accessing TEK, which is rarely written down and must in most cases be documented as a project on its own prior to its incorporation into another scientific undertaking. This formidable practical obstacle is exacerbated by the need to use social science methods to gather biological data, so that TEK research and application becomes a multidisciplinary undertaking. By examining case studies involving bowhead whales, beluga whales, and herring, this paper describes some of the benefits of using TEK in scientific and management contexts. It also reviews some of the methods that are available to do so, including semi-directive interviews, questionnaires, facilitated workshops, and collaborative field projects.
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Under conditions of rapid sea-ice retreat and dissolution , we observed at least nine Pacific walrus calves separated from adult females in waters as deep as 3,000 m in July and August 2004 in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean. Given limited sea surface visibility from the ship, we surmise that many additional calves may have been separated in the overall study area. These conditions appear to have been related to the transport of unusually warm (7° C) Bering Sea water into this area north of Alaska. Walruses invest considerable maternal resources while caring for calves on seasonally ice-covered continental shelves for periods of up to 2 y or more and only rarely separate from their young. Therefore, these observations indicate that the Pacific walrus population may be ill-adapted to rapid seasonal sea-ice retreat off Arctic continental shelves.
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A study of Huna Tlingit traditional gull-egg harvests in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, indicates that local traditional environmental knowledge includes a sophisticated appreciation of glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) nesting biology and behavior-in particular, an understanding of this gull as an indeterminate layer with a modal clutch size of three. The community has applied knowledge to the design of sustainable egg-harvesting strategies. The dominant strategy is to take eggs from nests with one or two eggs but leave nests with three or more; an alternative strategy advocates partial harvests from three-egg clutches. The case study is related to a critical review of work questioning the contributions of traditional environmental knowledge to sustainable resource management, past and present. In particular we argue against a new orthodoxy that discounts the capacity of indigenous communities to conserve the natural resources of their lands.
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[Figure: see text] ▪ Abstract A broad reflection on some of the major surprises to anthropological theory occasioned by the history, and in a number of instances the tenacity, of indigenous cultures in the twentieth century. We are not leaving the century with the same ideas that got us there. Contrary to the inherited notions of progressive development, whether of the political left or right, the surviving victims of imperial capitalism neither became all alike nor just like us. Contrary to the “despondency theory” of mid-century, the logical and historical precursor of dependency theory, surviving indigenous peoples aim to take cultural responsibility for what has been done to them. Across large parts of northern North America, even hunters and gatherers live, largely by hunting and gathering. The Eskimo are still there, and they are still Eskimo. Around the world the peoples give the lie to received theoretical oppositions between tradition and change, indigenous culture and modernity, townsmen and tribesmen, and other clichés of the received anthropological wisdom. Reports of the death of indigenous cultures—as of the demise of anthropology—have been exaggerated.
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Walruses (Odobenus rosmurus) feed mainly on benthic invertebrates in waters less than 80 m deep, and they have been presumed to be incapable of diving to greater depths. Reported here are seven walruses whose stomachs contained significant amounts of benthic sediments and food, some of which must have been ingested in waters more than 100 m deep. Walruses may be able to dive to depths much greater than 100 m. but they usually have little reason to do so, since their benthic prey are most abundant in shallower waters.
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This book is the result of a need seen by the Marine Mammal Commission for a current summary of the biology and status of ten species of Alaskan marine mammals, including recommendations for research and management. Its purpose is to serve as a reference and working document as conservation and management plans are developed and implemented for the ten species.
Book
traditional knowledge of indigenous community and the value of this knowledge for managing SES. Moreover, it gives a framework of different type of knowledge: local-manager-institution-world view being the latter the most difficult to change
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This paper presents the case for adopting ecosystem rebuilding as the goal of fisheries management. Movement toward this goal may represent the only hope for fisheries, as we know them, to exist 50 years in the future alongside essential services provided by marine ecosystems. First, I review archaeological, historical, and recent evi-dence that bears witness to a long, dismal record of overexploitation. Second, I examine the ecological effects of overfishing on aquatic ecosystems. Fish with life histories and spatial behavior inimical to harvesting are selectively removed, both within and among species. The loss of keystone species and the replacement of high-value, demersal resources with pelagic, rapid-turnover, low-value species shifts the nature of ecosystems, evidenced by accelerating local extinctions and a worldwide decline in trophic level. Disconcertingly, harvest limits that appear safe by single species evaluation can engender ecosystem changes that are hard to reverse. Driven by a progression of clever human harvest technologies, three ratchet-like processes have brought about episodes of depletion. ''Odum's ratchet'' is ecological in nature, comprising depletion and local extinction. ''Ludwig's ratchet,'' economic in nature, is a positive feedback loop between increased catching power and serial depletion, driven by the need to repay borrowed money. ''Pauly's ratchet'' is cognitive, shifting the baseline of what each generation regards as primal abundance and diversity. Third, a rebuilding policy goal is distinguished from that of sustaining current catches and biomass, since the baseline can refer to present misery. In this sense, present policies can inadvertently foreclose future options for the generation of food, wealth, and services from ocean resources. A policy to rebuild ecosystems can reverse this trend and maximize economic value in tomorrow's markets, where supply will vastly outstrip demand for high-quality fish products. Fourth, I outline a novel methodology, termed ''Back to the Future,'' that can implement a goal of ecosystem rebuilding. Models of past ecosystems are recon-structed using information about the presence and abundance of species from historical documents, archaeology, and local and traditional environmental knowledge (LEK and TEK). Economic evaluation compares past with present and alternative ecosystems. ''Back to the Future'' gives the TEK of aboriginal and indigenous peoples a valuable, direct function in resource management. Finally, I discuss two practical management measures, paralleling recent developments in terrestrial reconstruction ecology, the implementation of large no-take marine reserves, and the reintroduction of high-value species that were formerly endemic.
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Recent analyses have revealed trends over the past 20–30 years of decreasing sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean coincident with warming trends. Such trends may be indicative of the polar amplification of warming predicted for the next several decades in response to increasing atmospheric CO 2 . We have summarized these predictions and nonuniform patterns of arctic climate change in order to address their potential effects on marine mammals. Since recent trends in sea ice extent are nonuniform, the direct and indirect effects on marine mammals are expected to vary geographically. Changes in the extent and concentration of sea ice may alter the seasonal distributions, geographic ranges, patterns of migration, nutritional status, reproductive success, and ultimately the abundance and stock structure of some species. Ice-associated seals, which rely on suitable ice substrate for resting, pupping, and molting, may be especially vulnerable to such changes. As recent decreases in ice coverage have been more extensive in the Siberian Arctic (60˚E–180˚E) than in the Beaufort Sea and western sectors, we speculate that marine mammal populations in the Siberian Arctic may be among the first to experience climate-induced geographic shifts or altered reproductive capacity due to persistent changes in ice extent. Alteration in the extent and productivity of ice-edge systems may affect the density and distribution of important ice-associated prey of marine mammals, such as arctic cod Boreogadus saida and sympagic ("with ice") amphipods. Present climate models, however, are insufficient to predict regional ice dynamics, winds, mesoscale features, and mechanisms of nutrient resupply, which must be known to predict productivity and trophic response. Therefore, it is critical that mesoscale process-oriented studies identify the biophysical coupling required to maintain suitable prey availability and ice-associated habitat for marine mammals on regional arctic scales. Only an integrated ecosystems approach can address the complexity of factors determining productivity and cascading trophic dynamics in a warmer Arctic. This approach, integrated with monitoring of key indicator species (e.g., bowhead whale, ringed seal, and beluga), should be a high priority. RÉSUMÉ. Des analyses récentes ont fait apparaître des tendances, au cours des 20 à 30 dernières années, à la diminution de l'étendue des glaces de mer dans l'océan Arctique qui coïncident avec des tendances au réchauffement. Ces tendances pourraient être symptomatiques de l'amplification polaire du réchauffement prédit pour les prochaines décennies suite à la hausse de CO 2 dans l'atmosphère. Cet article offre un résumé de ces prédictions et des schémas non uniformes de changement climatique dans l'Arctique, en vue d'examiner leurs retombées potentielles sur les mammifères marins. Vu que les tendances récentes de l'étendue des glaces de mer ne sont pas uniformes, les retombées directes et indirectes sur les mammifères marins devraient varier sur le plan géographique. Des changements dans l'étendue et la concentration de la glace de mer peuvent modifier les distributions saisonnières, les aires géographiques, les schémas de migration, l'état nutritionnel, le succès de la reproduction, et, en fin de compte, l'abondance et la structure de la population de certaines espèces. Les phoques associés à la glace, qui dépendent d'un support glaciel pour le repos, la mise bas et la mue, seraient particulièrement affectés par de tels changements. Vu que les diminutions récentes de couverture de glace ont été plus importantes dans l'Arctique sibérien (de 60° E. à 180° E.) que dans la mer de Beaufort et les secteurs occidentaux, on pense que les populations de mammifères marins dans l'Arctique sibérien pourraient être les premières à faire l'expérience de variations géographiques dues au climat ou d'une modification de leur capacité de reproduction causée par des changements chroniques dans l'étendue de glace. Une modification de l'étendue et de la productivité des systèmes de la marge glaciaire pourrait affecter la densité et la distribution de proies associées à la glace importantes pour les mammifères marins, comme la morue arctique Boreogadus saida et les amphipodes vivant en contact avec la glace. Les modèles climatologiques actuels ne sont toutefois pas en mesure de prédire les dynamiques régionales de la glace, les vents, les caractéristiques à mésoéchelle ainsi que les mécanismes de réapprovisionnement en éléments nutritifs, tous éléments que l'on doit connaître pour pouvoir prédire la productivité et la réponse trophique. Il est par conséquent critique que des études à mésoéchelle axées sur les processus identifient les interactions du milieu naturel nécessaires pour maintenir, à des échelles arctiques régionales, une disponibilité de proies et un habitat associé à la glace appropriés aux mammifères marins. Seule une approche intégrée des écosystèmes peut envisager la complexité des facteurs déterminant la productivité et les dynamiques trophiques qui en résultent dans un Arctique plus tempéré. Cette approche, intégrée avec la surveillance d'espèces indicateurs clés (p. ex., la baleine boréale, le phoque annelé et le bélouga), devrait constituer une haute priorité. Mots clés: océan Arctique, changement climatique, étendue de la glace de mer, réchauffement de la planète, zone de la marge glaciaire, Balaena mysticetus, phoques associés à la glace, phoque annelé, Phoca hispida, bélouga, Delphinapterus leucas Traduit pour la revue Arctic par Nésida Loyer.