Effects of Petroleum Development On Reindeer Herding in the Yamal-Nenets and Nenets Autonomous Okrugs (YNAO and NAO), Russia
Bruce Forbes, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland, email@example.com, http://www.ulapland.fi/home/arktinen/bforbes/
The project ENSINOR is funded by the Finnish Academy during 2004-2007. Oil and gas activities over the past 30+ years have had profound impacts on the social and ecological systems of northwestern Russia. At the same time the region has been undergoing pronounced and rapid climatic warming, with potentially important ramifications for tundra vegetation and permafrost soils. We are investigating the extent of visible and perceived changes by using a case study approach in two areas of intensive oil (NAO) and gas (YNAO) development. Migratory Nenets reindeer herders, whose brigades (collective herding units) interact directly with oil and gas infrastructure and workers, are active participants in the project. Our aim is the co-production of knowledge relevant to assessing the overall impacts, both positive and negative, from past exploration and current production phases. This approach will combine state-of-the-art quantitative methods, such as very high-resolution satellite image analysis, with the qualitative practitioners’ knowledge that comes from the collective experience of herding, hunting, fishing, and gathering throughout the same territories for centuries. Gross changes in land cover, such as desertification and expanding infrastructure, are relatively easy to detect via remote sensing procedures. However, understanding how contemporary livelihoods actually interact with, are affected by, and respond to these processes requires extensive participant observation and interviews with Nenets herders both in the tundra and in the villages.