Research Coordination Network Arctic-FROST: Arctic FRontiers Of SusTainability: Resources, Societies, Environments and Development in the Changing North (NSF)

Project leads: Andrey Petrov, Timothy Heleniak, Jessica Graybill, Peter Schweitzer

RCN-SEES Arctic-FROST builds an international interdisciplinary collaborative network that teams together environmental and social scientists, local educators and community members from all circumpolar countries to enable and mobilize research on sustainable Arctic development, specifically aimed at improving health, human development and well-being of Arctic communities while conserving ecosystem structures, functions and resources. It is first U.S.-based circumpolar initiative of this kind and magnitude after the International Polar Year (2007-08). The purpose of the project is to contribute to conceptual, applied and educational aspects of sustainability science about the Arctic and beyond.

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Arctic-FROST website
Arctic Social Indicators (NSF/Norden/Arctic Council)

Project leads: Joan Nymand Larsen, Peter Schweitzer, Gail Fondahl, Andrey Petrov

The Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) I and II projects are follow-up activities associated with decadal Arctic Human Development Reports (AHDR). ASI has been endorsed by the Arctic Council. The goal is to device Arctic social indicators which will help facilitate monitoring of human development in the Arctic over time. Development of a monitoring system of human development in the Arctic is helpful from the perspective of those involved in the policy process. ASI I and ASI II provide a framework of baseline indicators reflecting the status of Arctic cultures, the evolution of indigenous rights,  the growth of the region’s economy, and other societal domains. The objective is to devise and apply a limited set of indicators that reflect key aspects of human development in the Arctic, that are tractable in terms of measurement, and that can be monitored over time at a reasonable cost in terms of labour and material resources.

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Sustainable Development, Human Well-being and Socio-Economic Impacts Monitoring (SSHRC-ReSDA)

Participants: Andrey Petrov, Chris Southcott, Philip Cavin, Simon Routh

Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA) is a research network that brings together researchers from a broad range of disciplines and organizations representing communities, government, the private sector and non-profit organizations. Through partnerships and collaborations we will conduct and mobilize research aimed at the sustainable development of Arctic natural resources in a manner that will improve the health and well being of northern communities while preserving the region’s unique environment. Adequate monitoring impacts of resource development is one of the key prerequisites for ensuring sustainable development in Arctic communities. Development of comprehensive, inclusive and measurable socio-economic impact indicators is a challenging task that requires a synthesis of international experie4nce and best practices of community-based monitoring. The Baseline Indicators projects is a collaborative pilot study between ReSDA, Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) projects and the Indigenous communities (Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC)). The goal of the Baseline Indicators project is to develop a set of measurable, reliable and accessible indicators to monitor socio-economic conditions in the Canadian Arctic with an emphasis on tracking impacts of resource development. This effort is focused on creating a framework to be used by local actors to collect, manage and analyze community-based data.


Taimyr Reindeer and Environmental Change (TREC)

Participants: Andrey Petrov, Anna Pestereva, Leonid Kolpashchikov, Matthew Cooney, Vladimir Mikhailov

Background: Taimyr wild reindeer herd is one of the largest and most monitored in the world. Available historic data displays change in the herd population as well as spatial distribution during the last 50 years. These changes correspond with similar situation with the North American Caribou herds and their reasons are not yet fully understood. Our project represents a unique experience of systematic compiling historic data on the herd population number and location of seasonal concentrations together with information about the environmental factors that affect the spatial distribution of the animals, such as climatic, biomass and other factors. Besides creating the spatial database of above-mentioned data, GIS analysis is conducted to define possible correlations between the environmental factors and reindeer population distribution, and to make prognosis of animal spatial behavior given the environmental changes.

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Arctic Fires Exploratory Study (NASA-ISGC)

Participants: Andrey Petrov, Jonathon Launspach, Jonathan Beavers

Background: The Arctic Fires Exploratory Study (AFES) aims to conduct an exploratory spatiotemporal analysis to reveal spatial patterns and temporal fluctuations of wildfire events in different parts of the Arctic. Tundra wildfires have an important impact on arctic ecosystems. Since tundra vegetation is very slow to recover, wildfires can substantially alter the amount of biomass and animal abundance in affected areas. Whereas boreal forest fires are well studied, the knowledge base about tundra wildfires is limited. Most arctic fires take place in remote areas and remain unmonitored from the ground or air. This study uses MODIS-derived active fire data to analyze spatial and temporal patterns of tundra wildfires between 2000 and present.

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Project leads: Bingqing Liang, Andrey Petrov

The Interdisciplinary Research Experience in Hyperspectral Imaging (IDREHSI) program is the National Science Foundation’s REU site that focuses on introducing young scientists to a highly interdisciplinary research environment with a unifying theme of fundamental and applied research in hyperspectral imaging. The IDRESHI program offers an 8-week summer school with a focus on field and lab-based hyperspectral imaging applications where students are engaged in faculty-directed collaborative interdisciplinary research. Application of hyperspectral imagery to study landscapes and their dynamics in the Arctic is an important focus area in IDREHSI. Young scientists are engaged in analyzing  ice conditions, wildfire prorogation, human disturbance and vegetation change in various Arctic and Subarctic regions.

Creative Arctic Project (NSF)

This project applies a novel approach to the role of creative capital and human agency and its affect on social and economic development in Northern communities. PI Petrov will examine data from Alaska, Canada, Russia, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, and Finland to examine the role of creative capital, defined as a stock of creative abilities and knowledge(s) embodied in a group of individuals who either possess high levels of education and/or are engaged in creative (scientific, artistic, entrepreneurial or technological) types of activities, in economic development in these communities. The investigator points out that most creative class research has been done in metropolitan areas and thus has marginalized peripheries, such as Arctic, frequently indigenous, rural communities. This research would apply the concept to more rural, northern areas in hopes of developing new ways of understanding the successes and failures of northern economic development programs. ARCSES also maintains   Creative Arctic website for researchers, classroom use, and informing local entrepreneurs, policy makers, and indigenous communities and interest groups interested in economic development in their regions.

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Polar Geography Specialty Group of AAG

Polar Geography Specialty Group of AAG was  officially formed in 2012. The goal of the SG is to provide a forum for exchange and collaboration for polar scientists from different disciplines.  PGSG holds annual meetings in conjunction with the AAG Annual Meeting, as well as co-sponsored other events. Membership  is open to researchers from all countries. Dr. Petrov served as PGSG Vice-Chair, and PGSG is co-headquartered at ARCSES.

Polar Geography is a PGSG partner and a leading interdisciplinary journal of polar research that offers a venue for scholarly research on the physical and human aspects of the Polar Regions.  The emphasizes the interplay of the natural systems, the complex historical, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and security issues, and the interchange amongst them. The journal welcomes comparative approaches, critical scholarship, and alternative and disparate perspectives. Dr. Petrov serves as journal’s Associate Editor.

The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) is an association of social scientists, humanities scholars and others interested in the Arctic (including Subarctic). IASSA has Observer Status at the Arctic Council, and is a member of the International Social Sciences Council. IASSA maintains close relations with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the University of the Arctic, and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists.

IASSA has over 600 members from 30 countries.  Anyone who is interested in Arctic/Subarctic social sciences and humanities, and who subscribes to ICASS’s objectives ( is welcome to join.  Membership privileges include access to ICASS meetings (open to members only), a semi-annual newsletter, access to receive and post messages on the IASSA listserv, and other benefits.  Dr. Petrov is the member of IASSA Council.

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