EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments
Conceptual and Institutional Frameworks for Protected Areas, and the Status of Indigenous Involvement: Considerations for the Bering Strait Region of Alaska
The Bering Strait region of Alaska is a culturally, economically, biologically, and politically important area of the Arctic. Like the rest of the arctic, this area is experiencing rapid and dramatic changes, both climate- and development-related. From the perspective of many indigenous residents, there is a growing need for protections – particularly in relation to the marine environment – in the Bering Strait region. This chapter reviews some of the existing protections that are in place and the status of indigenous involvement in them. The pressing need for additional protected areas is considered in light of the diverse issues and challenges facing the area such as commercial fishing, increasing marine traffic, climate change and resource development. I argue that it is critical to include indigenous residents of the region in the development, creation and maintenance of protected areas. I also argue that effective methods for protection can extend beyond typical western understandings of the nature, process and meaning of protection as defining an area where activities are allowed or prohibited.
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