Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems in Northwest Eurasia

  • Forbes, Bruce C (Principal Investigator)
  • Pirnes, Susanna (Collaborative Investigator)
  • Grigorjeva, Katrina (Collaborative Investigator)
  • Kuoppamaa, Mari (Collaborative Investigator)
  • Messhtyb, Nina (Collaborative Investigator)
  • Zetterberg, Pentti (Collaborative Investigator)

Project Details


RISES worked to reconstruct the environmental histories of integrated social-ecological systems in Fennoscandia and Yamal, West Siberia that have been characterized by both climate change and the constant adaptation of people and their reindeer herds through the late Holocene. The team is experienced in strongly interdisciplinary and theoretical research. Intensive study areas for collecting experimental (quantitative) and descriptive (qualitative) data were selected for different bioclimatic zones, near and beyond treeline, in each region.

The project worked to link indigenous (Sámi and Nenets) oral histories with archaeology, palaeoecology and modern ecological and climate studies for a holistic explanation of stable states. Now that the project has ended, we will endeavour to produce a state-of-the-art assessment on the relative roles of, and feedbacks between, humans, animals and climate in the structure, function and resilience of past and contemporary systems. In addition, we analyzed the relationship between retreating Barent and Kara sea ice and major rain-on-snow events on mainland Arctic Russia, which resulted in massive reindeer mortality. Finally, we have also created a science exhibition module focusing on the role of tundra willow shrubs in the Yamal tundra Nenets social-ecological system.
Effective start/end date01.09.201231.08.2016


  • Research Council of Finland: €650,735.00


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