Life around the North Water ecosystem: Natural and social drivers of change over a millennium

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The formation of the North Water in Smith Sound about 4500 years ago, as evidenced by the establishment of bird colonies and human presence, also initiated a long-term anthropogenic agent as part of this High Arctic ecosystem. Different epochs have influenced the human occupation in the area: immigration pulses from Canada and Alaska, trade with meteorite iron throughout the Arctic, introduction of new technologies by whalers and explorers, exploitation of resources by foreigners, political sequestration, export of fox and seal skins and later narwhal products, and recently fishing. Physical drivers in terms of weather and climate affecting the northern hemisphere also impact accessibility and productivity of the ecosystem, with cascading effects on social drivers, again acting back on the natural ecologies. Despite its apparent isolation, the ecosystem had and still has wide ranging spatial ramifications that extend beyond the High Arctic, and include human activity. The challenge is to determine what is internal and what is external to an ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmbio
Volume47
Issue numberSuppl 2
Pages (from-to)213-225
ISSN0044-7447
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Drivers of change, Ecosystem dynamics, North Water, Smith Sound, Social–ecological transformation

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