Terrestrial Systems

Current research projects (2019-2024)

Trying to make fetch happen: including tall shrubs in the atmospheric carbon budget of western Inuit Nunangat

Climate warming leads to changes in Arctic ecosystem function and disturbance regimes. These changes affect biodiversity and local, regional, and global ecosystem services with implications at all levels of governance. Western Inuit Nunangat is among the most rapidly warming regions of the Earth. One consequence of climate warming witnessed across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (IRS) is the presence of more and taller shrubs. Such changes in vegetation composition, structure, and diversity will have impacts on the atmosphere, the underlying permanently frozen ground, and on ecosystem services including access to travel routes across the land and traditional livelihoods. Our project engages community members in studying the ecosystem consequences of vegetation changes using geospatial technologies, and field observations on the ground and in the atmosphere in combination with artificial intelligence. Building local capacity is a prerequisite for continued vegetation monitoring to support the people of the ISR to adapt to climate change impacts occurring on their territory.