Climate Change Adaptation in High Latitude Rural Development Planning
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
Economic development in remote rural regions is a challenge throughout the world, but in high latitude areas, remoteness is joined by early measurable effects of climate change to make this challenge even greater. To learn how local communities are adapting to the early effects of climate change in their vicinity, this project will compare data on economic and social indicators and will conduct a survey of municipal planners in 71 municipalities above 65N in northwest Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Data on climate change experiences and problems or opportunities resulting from these experiences will be compared to municipal adaptation strategies and plans as part of their economic and community development programs. The climate change and adaptation data will be compared to economic and demographic measures and trends across the set of municipalities to understand how they vary in their approach to adaptation and how this compares to levels of development among the municipalities.
Municipalities are expected to vary in their approach to development and adaptation, both across countries and by level of development. It is also expected that climate change may bring advantages as well as problems to local areas and these will be important in the study. Understanding how these effects of climate change are viewed by the local leaders and how they view both opportunities and problems can help other rural regions in lower latitudes understand and prepare for changes that may affect their economies and their development potential in similar or different ways.
The project will build a comparative database for measuring economic growth, human and natural resource endowments, location characteristics, and local development efforts, and to model change in economic development as a function of these factors. The research team expects climate change adaptation and local development strategies to focus on location advantages, traditional industries, and/or human and natural resource advantages, and that these strategies will be associated with the most positive economic growth measures. They also expect municipalities that have addressed climate change issues to be more successful and to have considered both positive and negative possibilities resulting from climate change effects.