Social-Ecological Transformations: Human-Animal Relations Under Climate Change in Northern Eurasia

  • Forbes, Bruce C (Principal Investigator)
  • Kuoppamaa, Mari (Collaborative Investigator)
  • Laptander, Roza (Collaborative Investigator)
  • Messhtyb, Nina (Collaborative Investigator)

Project Details


Climate warming will instigate societal transformations in the 21st century. Some indigenous social-ecological systems (SESs) have proven resilient in space and time, yet most are considered at risk. With the Arctic warming faster than lower latitudes, there is an urgent need to increase our understanding of response capacities locally, regionally and internationally.

In HUMANOR we are looking at the climate and non-climate drivers in human-animal relations over time scales of tens and hundreds of years. We are trying to establish whether the climate has been the most important driver of the change, or have the societal changes such as legislation and governance overruled the climate effect. Our main study areas are northern Fennoscandia, Yamal and Mongolia.

The rationale is to understand contemporary nomadic pastoralist livelihoods experiencing rapid climate and land use change by detailing their historical trajectories in contrasting socio-economic, administrative and ecological contexts. Participatory approach is having a pivotal role in HUMANOR, since we do involve the herders in research design, data collection and analysis. The project concentrates in two time scales – post-WWII and the late Holocene (ca. last 2000 years). These time scales have experienced significant societal and climatic changes in terms of transition from hunting to herding reindeer, and the change from collectivization to post-collectivized society.

Research questions
* Is climate change really the dominant driver in Northern Eurasian pastoral social-ecological systems?
* What role have people and animals played? At what time/spatial scales?
* How important are other non-climatic drivers, e.g. governance, legislative regimes, markets?
* What are the main climate related risks (eg. extreme weather) in coming decades as perceived locally?
* How have past climatic and non-climatic pressures been managed?
* How do responses vary across different indigenous nomadic peoples in the Nordic countries, Eastern and Western Siberia, and Mongolia?
Effective start/end date01.01.201531.12.2018


  • Research Council of Finland: €500,000.00


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