RCN Arctic-COAST: Arctic COASTal Community and Environmental Resilience International Interdisciplinary Research Coordination Network

Project Description

This project establishes an international Research Coordination Network (RCN) for science-policy interface among researchers, policy and decision makers, and young local and indigenous leaders to better understand and enhance resilience to ongoing dramatic changes in the Arctic. Arctic-COAST will provide an interface between the transdisciplinary research of biophysical, socio-economic, and decision-making academic research domains and policy applications to address the resilience of coastal socio-ecological systems. The Arctic coastal zone, especially in Eurasia, lacks an integrated framework for monitoring socio-ecological systems that could provide key observations for measuring resilience and assessing environmental and community sustainability. Knowledge and policy gaps exist with respect to understanding coastal socio-ecological systems, indicators of sustainability and resilience, scenario-based modeling, and scientific foundations for adaptive governance responses in the Arctic.

By integrating data-rich regional case studies, developing data management tools, and presenting information through an education web-based portal, the network will contribute to research cyberinfrastructure in the circumpolar Arctic. Using a resilience framework as an overarching concept, Arctic-COAST will be instrumental in closing knowledge and policy gaps to foster sustainable development of Arctic ecosystems and communities, which is one of the deliverables for the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council during the US Chairmanship 2015-2017.

Arctic-COAST employs a transdisciplinary approach of biophysical, socio-economic and policy research that will interface from the project’s inception. Arctic-COAST knowledge structure encompasses five crosscutting themes related to Arctic coastal social-ecological systems (SES) resilience: indicators and monitoring, community resilience, adaptive governance, future scenario building, and nurturing new Arctic leaders. A sixth information and knowledge management theme is an integrated effort that summarizes, presents and delivers RCN results.

Arctic-COAST will synthesize and disseminate knowledge about the state, dynamics and resilience of coastal SESs focusing on the circumpolar Arctic. To bridge existing knowledge gaps, Arctic-COAST will (1) provide systematic, synthetic knowledge about Eurasian and Northern American Arctic coastal SESs; (2) compile spatial, systems-based understandings of SES resilience for different geographical scales and regional contexts; (3) craft future research directions for Arctic SES resilience and ecosystem stewardship, focusing on governance issues; and (4) foster a new generation of scientists, policy and decision makers capable of adaptive management. Arctic-COAST will fund regular meetings and workshops to promote exchange, collaboration, training and educational opportunities for scientists, early career and Indigenous scholars, students and local community members.

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