Nuiqsut and other northern Alaskan villages are subject to a changing landscape caused both by climate change and by accelerated oil and gas exploration and development. These factors have consequences for ecosystem services including village infrastructure, subsistence resources and travel for harvests. The goals of the Northern Test Case are to understand how land cover and land use change interact with ecosystem dynamics and affect ecosystem services; to investigate stakeholders’ perceptions of risk and of land surface and land use changeand to understand how these perceptions shape their responses; and to determine how informal and formal institutional arrangements constrain or facilitate adaptive strategies.

Test case lead will be University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Professor of Resource Policy and Management Gary Kofinas; co-leads will be UAF Research Assistant Professor Anna Liljedahl (a hydrologist) and UAF Assistant Professor of Political Science Chanda Meek. The Northern Test Case will entail two faculty hires, one postdoc hire, and support for seven graduate students, and will utilize infrastructure at Ilisagvik College, a tribal college in Barrow. Key external partners include the North Slope Borough Wildlife Management and Planning Departments; the interagency North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI), and BP Energy.