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Informal roads are an inevitable part of human presence in landscapes and serve as a means of transportation and communication. They are used for subsistence, resource exploration and extraction, and for connectivity. However, in fragile Arctic and Sub-Arctic landscapes, the rapid development of these roads indicates uncontrolled extractive development, landscape fragmentation, and other environmental and societal disturbances. Therefore, these roads provide an important perspective for measuring sustainability of social-ecological systems. In this presentation, Vera Kuklina summarizes the results of a three-year NSF-funded project and highlights lessons learned from long-term collaboration with local and Indigenous communities in Siberian taiga of Baikal region. The project utilized a combination of social, environmental, and remote sensing methods. Furthermore, it demonstrates how the studies of infrastructure patterns, creation, use, maintenance, and abandonment can be relevant for understanding human-environment relations in the Arctic and beyond.

Archive Video