Future Arctic livelihoods and biodiversity in a changing climate

01/01/2021 – 01/01/2024

Total Grant


More information

Martin Reinhardt Nielsen

Partners of the project

Coordinator: Food and Resource Economics – University of Copenhagen Frederiksberg C – Denmark

Institute of Learning – Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland – Nuuk – Denmark

Sustainable Design and Transition – University of Ålborg – Copenhagen – Denmark

Social sciences – Arctic University of Norway – Tromsø – Norway

Economics – Norwegian University of Science and Technology – Trondheim – Norway

Lillehammer – Norwegian Institute for Nature Research – Trondheim – Norway

Administration, Technology and Social Sciences – Luleå University of Technology – Luleå – Sweden

Geography – Umeå University – Umeå – Sweden


Climate change occurs faster in the Arctic than in any other region, with tremendous consequences for Arctic biodiversity and people, undermining established production patterns of hunting, fishing, gathering and herding. These changes furthermore occur in a context of far-ranging economic, cultural and political change and commercial interests. Information about the welfare and wellbeing consequences for local communities is scarce, and particularly the subsistence component of natural resource dependency is often not visible in national income assessments. Policies favouring large-scale commercial operations in other sectors may furthermore inhibit historically used adaptation strategies. FutureArcticLives is, therefore, guided by the overall question – what are the likely future impacts and adaptation possibilities for small-scale primary resource users in Greenland and Northern Sweden and Norway in the face of climate and biodiversity change? Focus is on traditional Inuit hunters and small- scale fishermen in Greenland, Saami reindeer herders in northern Sweden and Norway and the sea Saami in the Porsanger Fjord in Norway, in the context of broader interests and commercial operations.

Main objectives

FutureArcticLives will explore and compare management options and draw synthesis across the three cases.
In Greenland, specific objectives include quantifying reliance on wildlife and fish at the household economic level and assessing welfare implications in future scenario simulations on biodiversity change and development in other sectors. Literature review and user-generated data will be applied to evaluate species- specific vulnerability and predict population trends for developing future scenarios in a context of limited scientific data.
For reindeer herding, objectives include determining the extent to which cultural and intrinsic values and income from reindeer husbandry are crucial to modern Swedish and Norwegian reindeer herders and their coping strategies. Forecasts will assess Saami herder livelihood strategies’ viability and be used as input to a bio-economic model evaluating the costs and benefits of climate scenarios.
For the sea Saami, objectives include an ecosystem service assessment of nature’s contribution, identifying local conceptions of ecosystem health and community wellbeing indicators. Ecosystem restoration goals will be co-developed with local communities and authorities as part of an adaptive management plan for the Porsanger Fjord.
Cross-cutting objectives include analysing the synergies and trade-offs between policies and laws applicable to hunting, fishing and reindeer husbandry and their relation to those on biodiversity, climate and other relevant sectors and contexts at different levels. Experience with nature-based solutions will be compared, identifying barriers to adaptation.

Main activities

FutureArcticLives will conduct household questionnaire surveys and choice experiments and use detailed register data combined in new ways to produce datasets used for econometric regression analysis, space-time models, bio- economic models and simulations. Stakeholder interviews will support policy and legal analysis and narratives about local wellbeing will be recorded using audio-visual approaches. National scientific advisory groups, including local stakeholders, will guide scientific work and help to identify policy interphase pathways to impact. A data management plan and dissemination strategy will be developed to enhance the transfer of co-created knowledge. An exploitation plan will highlight how results can be further developed and used after finalizing the project. Exploitable results will be presented to policy-makers on national and regional levels, through individual meetings and at strategic events.