Research ArticleAPPLIED ECOLOGY

Undermining subsistence: Barren-ground caribou in a “tragedy of open access”

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Science Advances  28 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, e1701611
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701611
  • Fig. 1 Caribou herds in Northwest Territories (NWT) and Yukon.
  • Fig. 2 Population trends for four barren-ground caribou herds (111).
  • Fig. 3 Bathurst caribou population data and trends (111).
  • Fig. 4 Gwich’in and Inuvialuit harvest data and trends.
  • Fig. 5 Relationship between Inuvialuit harvest and caribou population change from 1987 to 1997.
  • Fig. 6 Trends in mining exploration and development activity in the Northwest Territories (112).
  • Fig. 7 Mining footprint relative to Porcupine caribou range and Peel River watershed, Yukon.
  • Fig. 8 Mineral resource development in the Bathurst caribou range.
  • Table 1 Practices and institutions (rules) of northern Indigenous communities for taking care of caribou and dealing with variability in arctic/subarctic ecosystems.
    Mechanism and case study exampleAdaptive outcome
    Adaptive caribou harvesting—decreased harvesting during periods of decline (and
    corresponding increase in harvest of other species and/or substitution for market
    foods) (11, 62, 64, 110, 113115)
    Decreased hunting pressure on declining resources;
    diversification of traditional diets and/or increased
    dependence on market foods of lesser nutritional value
    Increase in depth of observation by individual harvesters, communities
    (39, 54, 92, 93, 114, 116119)
    Increase in the scope of traditional knowledge available on
    which to make harvest decisions
    Increase in organization and communication at larger scales (36, 120, 121)More complex institutional arrangements; opportunities
    for cross-scale decision-making
    Increased in enforcement of informal property rights (for example,
    traditional hunting territory) and rules for caribou harvest (122, 123)
    Self-organized enforcement of rules to protect caribou
    Strengthening and/or expansion of food sharing networks within
    and outside the caribou range (63, 124, 125)
    Increase in knowledge generation and transmission (including with
    younger generations) within and between communities
    Cultural rediscovery, social learning, and innovation to address
    food shortages (108, 126)
    Increase in the breadth of potential solutions to food shortages
    Cultural and spiritual learning (35, 127)New spiritual learning; changes in the sociocultural and spiritual
    relationship of people and caribou

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