Human dimensions research focuses on the interrelationships between humans and the environment. To date, human dimensions research in arctic regions has concentrated primarily on local events and contexts. As such, it complements analysis elsewhere of adaptation and sustainable development within broad institutional, social, and environmental contexts. This paper reviews five projects from the Human Dimensions of the Arctic System (HARC) initiative, established by the US National Science Foundation in 1997. Common themes and findings are highlighted: climatic variations or change affect societies through interactions with human activities; population dynamics provide key quantitative indicators of social impacts and well being; and specific impacts and responses are the result of complex, context-sensitive interactions. Congruent approaches to the challenges of interdisciplinary research are also identified: multivariate time plots aid the integration of data, retrospective and prospective studies are part of a continuum and reinforce one another, comparative studies are essential for understanding general principles of human dimensions, and arctic residents can play a vital role in research and action.

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Regional Environmental Change



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© Springer-Verlag 2007


This is an article published by Springer in Regional Environmental Change in 2010, available online:

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