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Timescapes of community resilience and vulnerability in the circumpolar north

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M. Robards
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This paper investigates the social-ecological (SES) timescapes of the circumpolar north in relation to four primary provisioning practices, namely, hunting/gathering, pastoralism, agriculture, and market-based economy. The author argues that historical relationships between people and a changing Arctic environment can offer insights for management that promote both social and ecological resilience. The research presented in this paper draws on the position that SESs exist in an environment that is explicitly temporal - frequently cyclic, changing, contextual and contingent.The author finds that for specific communities that have maintained their existence through a series of periods of profound change, elements of social and ecological resilience have been neither incrementally lost nor gained through time. Rather, they have waxed and waned in accordance with specific, and sometimes repeating, conditions.To maintain their existence, the author argues, communities have had to maintain their ability to recognise gradual or rapid changes in social, ecological, or economic conditions, reorganising themselves to adapt to those changes, rather than to any specific outcomes of a change.However, the author notes that centralised western management, despite fundamental flaws in accounting for local linkages between culture, economics, and the environment, is increasingly circumscribing local practices.The author argues that the challenge of maintaining equity and resilience of remote communities necessitate incorporating localised cultural values and decision-making processes that fostered prior community existence with western interdisciplinary research.