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5 Bu uilding Knowledg and So K ge olving Pr roblems P Photo credit: M Kennedy, E Matt Earth Vision Tru ust We want to understand the wonder of the world ar o o round us. We want to use w what we learn n to impprove our circcumstances, to support hum wellbeing and dignity. We want to m o man g mitigate harmf impacts wh ful here possible and adapt as best we can t changing co to onditions. We want to e anticipate what lies over the horizon so that we are better p s w prepared to m meet future cha allenges (Box 5.1). All of these motivations app to Arctic research, as sc A ply cientists study the inherent fascination of f a rapidly changing region domin nated by ice in many forms , and as socie figures out how best to n ety face th challenges and pursue the opportunit emerging there. he s ties Curiosity-d driven research and problem m-oriented res search are often held up as competing s and ev mutually exclusive app ven proaches. This dichotomy i s a reflection more of agen funding s ncy priorit and mech ties hanisms and le a fundame ess ental property of the researc enterprise itself. In y ch practice, and as demonstrated by the many ex y xamples descr ribed in this re eport, our undderstanding off the Arrctic benefits from both app f proaches, and the ability to act on Arctic matters requ d o c uires insights from all points on the research sp a pectrum. Beca ause this dich hotomy is misl leading, we shhould not seek to identify an “optim balance” between rese mal earch on fund amental ques stions versus th on specific hat c, urgent problems. It is more productive to think about the w k ways in which decision mak and kers comm munities can draw on the re d esults of all typ of research to find appr pes h ropriate paths for action, and th innovative research that emerges whe researchers direct their inquiry toward what he en s d decision-makers ne to know. eed PREPUBLICATION CO OPY 119
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120 The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions Natural and social scientific study can provide an objective basis for developing a common understanding of the phenomena and processes that define and shape the Arctic. It has the potential to provide lines of evidence for making decisions about how to live and work in the Arctic, recognizing that our knowledge will never be complete, but that using the best available information can support decisions that meet our goals now while leaving us better prepared for, and resilient to, future shocks. For all regions of the planet where accelerated impacts of climate change are occurring, it is well recognized that if action had been taken earlier to tackle global warming using the science available at that time, the results would likely have been different with more positive environmental outcomes. This lack of action strongly suggests that the science-policy-practice link is broken (Weichselgartner and Marandino, 2012). These authors point to a need to improve the ways in which science is used to develop policies and other tools for managing marine environments, but this need also applies to the Arctic. They also suggest that, in general, improving how science is translated to knowledge, synthesizing existing local knowledge, and engaging regional communities to develop decision support systems are some of the important ways in which this broken link can be repaired. Arctic research is already an important underpinning of U.S. investments in resource exploration, wildlife management, and social services (e.g., Huntington et al., 2011; Meek et al., 2011; Shanley et al., 2013). Alaska provides half the nation’s commercial fish catch by weight (NMFS, 2012), holds vast reserves of oil and natural gas, is home to indigenous peoples who continue traditional practices on land and sea that are critical to culture and community, serves as a bellwether for rapid environmental change and its impacts, and has a critical role in the regulation of global climate (Euskirchen et al., 2013). The management of Alaska’s fisheries is recognized around the world for its commitment to sound stewardship based on sound science. The regulation of oil and gas activities relies on scientific understanding to uphold the high standards needed to meet the nation’s commitment to conservation of wildlife and ecosystems. Natural and social scientific research supports the pursuit of sustainable futures for Arctic communities. At the same time, research designs in general are not crafted with decision support for practitioners in mind, and many scientists are ill-prepared to engage substantively and ethically with these processes (e.g., Johnson et al., 2013; Sutherland et al., 2013; Tyler, 2013). The role of research leading to action with knowledge is complex. Knapp and Trainor (2013) compiled results from a wide range of stakeholders on ways to improve this science-policy-link. They found that there is strong decision-maker support for making improvements. Their results are consistent with this report: among other recommendations, they suggest improvements to broad access to data, knowledge sharing and mobilization, regional scale and community-engaged science, and interdisciplinary research training. Because of the interdisciplinary nature and the geographic focus of Arctic research, the scientific community is well poised to improve knowledge mobilization and its integration in governance and institutions. It is critical in this time of rapid change, as opportunities for economic development, capacity building, and ecological conservation interact, that Arctic research seeks and implements best practices in supporting knowledge integration in governance. These practices need to address the boundaries between policy-relevant science and policy making (Turnpenny et al., 2013), actively consider the timescales on which decisions are made (Tyler, 2013), and produce knowledge that is, and is perceived as, salient, credible, and legitimate (Cash et al., 2003). In times of rapid change, all of these characteristics can be challenging and thereby prevent scientific knowledge integration or delay policy implementation (Tonn et al., 2001). Providing useful information for Arctic communities is a good example of the importance and difficulty of connecting research to action (e.g., Gerlach and Loring, 2013). The current and future well-being of those communities depends on, among other things, the ability to respond effectively to the myriad social and environmental changes taking place. Information is one part of PREPUBLICATION COPY
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Building Knowledge and Solving Problems 121 this equation. Human capacity to act on that information is also required, from individual ability to systems of governance that foster adaptation and learning. Collaborations with researchers have great potential to help, but community ownership of both the process and the results is essential. Communication with other communities can share ideas and successes, building a network of support. These outcomes require understanding of the ways communities operate, and also need input beyond that which researchers provide. In other words, research and researchers can be part of the solution, together with supporting and expanding the community’s capacity to learn and act (Audla, 2014). The bottom line is: How can we do a better job of initiating, supporting, and conducting research that seeks to incorporate salient, legitimate, and timely scientific advice into Arctic decision-making? Funding agencies that collaborate to produce opportunities that incentivize the integration of curiosity-driven and problem-oriented research will motivate such research. Second, how can we help to promote incorporation of decision support in the broader research community? In the United States “many public agencies still advocate the traditional approach best characterized by the phrase ‘invite, inform, and ignore’” (Karl et al., 2007). There is growing awareness that consultative processes are more effective, particularly in the Arctic context of high costs of field programs and a mobilized and knowledgeable resident community. To maximize opportunities for knowledge integration in decisions while ameliorating the potential for conflict and violations of intellectual property, research programs require decision maker participation, support for local research capacities, and investments in education and capacity building. Decision-making based on scientific knowledge tends to be more effective when the stakeholders and researchers communicate at all phases of the process: from planning to knowledge generation to assessments of the effectiveness of the decision. Funding of this sort of work, therefore, should include activities that foster engagement among the various entities involved. Connecting research with decisions is in many respects beyond the capacity of an individual researcher or project. More support both from agencies that fund research and from agencies that make decisions that could benefit from the results of such research. While short-term decision needs cannot drive all aspects of Arctic research, neither can they be ignored. While scientific results are not the only factor considered in decisions (e.g., Tyler, 2013), they are an important component and the Arctic research community as a whole needs to acknowledge the importance of communicating and working with decision makers. We urge scientists and decision makers to look for models to emulate and to work together to find new ways of understanding one another, for the long-term benefit of the Arctic and its inhabitants. Addressing the challenges that stem from what is happening in the Arctic in the Anthropocene requires a greater degree of cooperation, both among researchers from different disciplines and between researchers and decision makers. In other words, getting more from Arctic research may best be pursued by enhancing the ways in which we make use of that research. We need to support more collaboration among scientists and among nations. We need to improve the application of results by society by creating more ways to interact and fostering a sense of shared purpose to manage change to the best of our abilities. The United States has the resources to invest in such a range of research undertakings throughout the entire Arctic. A will to apply the results of research is needed, as is a continued commitment to studying what exists, what is emerging, and what awaits us in the Arctic. PREPUBLICATION COPY
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122 The Arcti ic in the Anthr ropocene: Em merging Resea arch Question ns BOX 5.1 LAST SEA ICE REFUG S GE The record-s setting losses of sea ice in 200 and 2012 res f 07 sulted in wides spread attention to the question n of whe the Arctic will be ice free in summer. But a closer look at the model results leads to an important en n t n finding after most of the ice is lost, many projectio show some sea-ice cover e g: m ons extending far in the latter half nto of this century. The modeled ice dist m tributions (Figure 5.2) project that this last re maining summer sea ice will be located north of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago, in a region known as the last sea G t A n a-ice refuge or the las ice area (Pfirm et al., 2009 Wang and Overland, 2009; WWF, 2012). Because winds drive winter st man 9; O ; s ice into this region, it is expected to continue havin contiguous i ce cover in sum o t ng mmer for decad after sea ice des e is lost throughout the rest of the Arct This means that polar bear ringed seals, and other species dependent tic. rs, , t on sea ice will likely find supportive habitat in this region through a e hout much of th 21st century (Durner et al., he 2009; Kelly et al., 2010). FIGUR Model projections of sea ice thickness when the Arctic is nearly ice fre in Septembe within 30 RE ee er, years. Units for sea ic thickness are meters. SOUR ce e RCE: Wang and Overland 200 9. Knowing tha there will be a region with persistent summ sea ice poses many challe at p mer enges: As there is less an less ice, forecasting the loca nd ation of the sennsitive region w become mo re important (Lovecraft and will Meek, 2010; Meek an Lovecraft, 20 nd 011). How larg will it be, and for how long ? How will the ice ge d characcteristics change over time (i.e., from multiyear ice to mixed multiyear and first-year ice, t largely first- e d d to year ic How much and what type of ice are nee ce)? h es eded to support key species, s t such as polar be ears and ringed d seals? While projectio indicate tha the refuge wi be located la ons at ill argely within th exclusive eco he onomic zones o of Canad and Greenlan research ind da nd, dicates that the ice supplying it will come fro the central A e om Arctic, and with h increasing ice speeds (Kwok et al., 2013; Rampal et al., 2009), fro the Siberian continental sh (Pfirman et s 2 e om n helf al., 2009). Given the dynamic nature of the ice cov what issues are raised by o developmen commercial ver, s oil nt, shippin and tourism What would be needed to manage this sp ng, m? d pecial region -- at local, nation and - nal, internaational scales— that the qua —so ality of habitat is maintained fo as long as po or ossible? Will th become a his region of cooperation for example, designated inte n, ernationally as a special area ( (Lovecraft and M Meek, 2010; Meek and Lovecraft, 2011; Pfirman et al., 2008) or will it become a region of co r e onflict (Chapter 3)? Establishment of publ lic-private partn nerships (see Ch hapter 4) may b the key to co be o-management of this region. This is not th only region in the Arctic that is special – o he other refugia fo cold-depende species and or ent d hotspo are importan because of ei ots nt ither their vulne erability or thei resilience in t face of chan ir the nge, and need t to be managed carefully How do we predict and the set research and manageme priorities fo regions of hig y. en ent or gh ecolog gical and cultur importance? ral ? PREPUBLICATION CO OPY