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MIKON Scientific Program
FRAM – High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment
Scientific program 2015 – 2019
for
MIKON – Environmental Impacts of Industrial Development in the
North
by
Per Fauchald, Anita Evenset, Ingrid Berthinussen, Einar Eythórsson, Maria Fossheim, Dorte
Herzke, Kine Mari Karlsen, Rolf Rødven
Institutions in the Fram Centre:
ApN: Akvaplan-NIVA Inc.; Bioforsk: Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research; CICERO: Center for International
Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo; IMR: Institute of Marine Research; NCA: Norwegian Coastal Administration; NGU:
Geological Survey of Norway; NINA: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research; NIKU: The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage
Research; NILU: Norwegian Institute for Air Research; NIVA: Norwegian Institute for Water Research; Nofima: The Norwegian Institute
of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research; NMA: Norwegian Mapping Authority; NORUT: Northern Research Institute; NPI:
Norwegian Polar Institute; NRPA: Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority; NVH: Norwegian School of Veterinary Science; SINTEF:
The Company for Industrial and Technological Research; UiT: UiT The Arctic University of Norway; UNIS: The University Centre in
Svalbard; NVI: Norwegian Veterinary Institute.
1
MIKON Scientific Program
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ............................................................................................................... 3
Background ........................................................................................................................ 4
Goals................................................................................................................................... 6
2.1 Primary goal ................................................................................................................ 6
2.2 Sub-goals ..................................................................................................................... 7
3
Research Priorities.............................................................................................................. 7
3.1 Specification of research activities .............................................................................. 7
4
Theme I - Knowledge base for Ecosystem-Based Management ........................................ 8
4.1 Flagship competence ................................................................................................... 9
4.2 WP 1 - Science support for Integrated Ecosystem Assessments ................................. 9
4.2.1 Background .......................................................................................................... 9
4.2.2 Research tasks ...................................................................................................... 9
4.3 WP 2 - The vulnerability and resilience of northern ecosystems to new and
expanding industries ............................................................................................................. 10
4.3.1 Background ........................................................................................................ 10
4.3.2 Research tasks .................................................................................................... 10
4.4 Approaches and Methods .......................................................................................... 11
5
Theme II - Impacts of industrial activity on organisms, habitats and ecosystems ........... 11
5.1 Flagship competence ................................................................................................. 12
5.2 WP 3 - Dispersion of industrial emissions in air and in aquatic and terrestrial
environments ........................................................................................................................ 12
5.2.1 Background ........................................................................................................ 12
5.2.2 Research tasks .................................................................................................... 13
5.2.3 Approaches and Methods ................................................................................... 13
5.3 WP 4 - Environmental effects of industrial activities................................................ 14
5.3.1 Background ........................................................................................................ 14
5.3.2 Research tasks .................................................................................................... 15
5.3.3 Approaches and Methods ................................................................................... 15
5.4 WP 5 - Restoration of northern Ecosystems .............................................................. 15
5.4.1 Background ........................................................................................................ 15
5.4.2 Research tasks .................................................................................................... 16
5.4.3 Approaches and Methods ................................................................................... 16
6
Theme III - Impacts of industrial development on ecosystem services and socioecological systems in the North ............................................................................................... 16
6.1 WP 6 - Consequences of industrial development for ecosystem services ................. 17
6.1.1 Background ........................................................................................................ 17
6.1.2 Research tasks .................................................................................................... 18
6.1.3 Approaches and Methods ................................................................................... 18
6.2 WP 7 - Sustainable development of socio-ecological systems .................................. 18
6.2.1 Background ........................................................................................................ 18
6.2.2 Research tasks .................................................................................................... 19
7
Organization of the flagship ............................................................................................. 19
8
CV and competence ......................................................................................................... 20
9
Education: Contributions from the flagship ..................................................................... 21
10 Publication and outreach .................................................................................................. 21
11 Budget and financing ....................................................................................................... 21
12 References ........................................................................................................................ 22
1
2
2
MIKON Scientific Program
Executive Summary
MIKON - Environmental Impacts of Industrial Development in the North is one of six research
flagships at the FRAM - High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment. MIKON
was established in response to the anticipated increase in industrial activity in northern and
arctic areas and the need for comprehensive knowledge of the environmental impacts of this
development.
The Arctic is currently facing major changes as a result of interconnected global and
regional trends. Increased extraction of non-renewable resources, major changes in the
availability and utilization of renewable resources, and the accompanying development of
infrastructure are currently changing the human pressure on arctic and northern ecosystems.
Industries involved in this change include extractive industries such as petroleum and mining;
marine industries such as fishing, marine harvest and aquaculture; production of renewable
energy such as wind and hydroelectric power; shipping; and tourism. Knowledge of the
combined environmental impacts of this industrial development is a key to sustainable
governance of arctic ecosystems and cultural heritage. Sustainable development will be vital
for preserving indigenous cultures, maintaining and developing healthy human communities,
preserving biodiversity and securing the future flow of ecosystem services to human societies.
To answer this challenge, MIKON will provide new knowledge regarding the
environmental impacts of industrial development in northern and arctic areas. Environmental
impacts are defined as the combined impacts on habitats, organisms, ecosystems, cultural
heritage and human societies. The research will be problem-oriented, exploring solutions to
environmental problems and seeking directions that achieve environmentally sustainable
development. The knowledge will be relevant for, and feed into, ecosystem-based
management, the development of environmentally friendly industries and sustainable
governance of arctic communities.
Under research Theme I, MIKON will conduct synthesis research to support ecosystembased management. The synthesis of existing data and literature will evaluate ecosystem
indicators, assess the combined impacts from multiple human stressors, and assess the
vulnerability of arctic ecosystems to specific industries. The research will be particularly
relevant for management authorities developing ecosystem-based management in arctic
marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Under research Theme II, MIKON will conduct empirical research to identify the
impacts of industrial stressors on organisms, habitats, landscapes and cultural heritage, as well
as to explore solutions for reducing the impact of these stressors on arctic ecosystems. The
dispersion and distribution of industrial emissions in air and in aquatic and terrestrial
environments will be investigated. Studies will also investigate the effects of mitigation
measures and restoration efforts. The results from this research will be used as an input in
Theme I and will be important for developing environmentally friendly industries.
Under research Theme III, MIKON will conduct studies of socio-ecological systems to
evaluate how new and existing industries affect the availability and use of ecosystem services.
Comparative research and studies of governance processes will be used to identify
sustainability challenges associated with industrial development. The research will emphasize
the impacts on local communities and indigenous people, including traditional pastoral (e.g.,
reindeer herding) and subsistence activities. This research will contribute to the syntheses of
Theme I and will be particularly relevant for the governance of industrial development in arctic
communities.
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MIKON Scientific Program
1 Background
Northern areas are undergoing major changes as a result of global warming, globalization,
resource extraction, development of infrastructure, industrial development and population
changes (AHDR 2004, AMAP 2011, Rasmussen 2011). These changes have increased the
pressure on northern ecosystems (CAFF 2013) and have introduced new challenges for people
living in the North (AHDR 2004). Comprehensive knowledge pertinent to the environmental
consequences of industrial development in the North is a key to sustainable governance of
arctic ecosystems and cultural heritage (cf. Box 1). Sustainable development will be vital for
preserving indigenous cultures, maintaining and developing healthy human communities,
preserving biodiversity and securing the flow of ecosystem services to human societies. In this
context, it is the overarching ambition of MIKON-Environmental Impacts of Industrial
Development in the North to contribute to a sound scientific knowledge-base to achieve
environmentally sustainable development in the North.
Traditionally, the Arctic has been viewed as a storehouse of natural resources and a
region to be mined with relatively little concern for sustainability or impacts (AHDR 2004).
Historically, a challenging climate, long distances to markets and little or no infrastructure
have made exploitation of natural resources in the High North costly. Resource extraction in
arctic “frontier regions” has therefore largely been decoupled from the local and regional
economies, and has been characterized by periodic withdrawal of resources during periods of
high commodity prices (Sugden 1982, Duhaime 2004). Unsustainable resource extraction,
including cases within the fur trade and the whaling and sealing industries, as well as several
cases in the mining industry, has caused widespread negative impacts for local people and for
the natural and cultural environments. Accordingly, it is a well-established political goal that
any industrial expansion in the North should follow a prudent and sustainable development
plan, minimizing the potential negative consequences for the environment and the local
people1,2.
In contrast with the “resource frontier regions” still found in many parts of the Arctic (e.g.,
Alaska, arctic Canada, Greenland and parts of arctic Russia), the Scandinavian Arctic has a
more mature and diversified economy where natural resource extraction is integrated into
the regional and national infrastructure, generating more widespread economic spin-offs
(Duhaime 2004, Haley et al. 2011). The regional economy is accordingly less sensitive to
fluctuating market prices; for example, mineral extraction in Scandinavia, unlike the rest of
the Arctic, has been relatively stable over the last 30 years (Haley et al. 2011). Nevertheless,
there is an increased interest in mineral extraction in northern Norway, and it is expected that
mining activities will expand into new areas in the coming years, with the potential for
increased environmental conflict3. The petroleum industry has already expanded into the
Norwegian Arctic as gas and oil exploration and production have been developed in the
Norwegian and Barents Seas. The oil and gas industry is expected to have an increased impact
on the regional economy and employment, but this development will also present new or
exacerbated environmental challenges related to e.g., the risk of oil spills, ship traffic and the
need to build new infrastructure4. The increase in Norwegian aquaculture is expected to
1
Arctic Council 2013: Kiruna Declaration.
Meld. St. 7 (2011-2012) Nordområdene: Visjon og virkemidler.
3
NHD 2013: Strategi for mineralnæringen.
4
Meld. St. 10 (2010–2011) Oppdatering av forvaltningsplanen for det marine miljø i Barentshavet og
havområdene utenfor Lofoten.
2
4
MIKON Scientific Program
continue5 with a particularly strong increase in the production of farmed fish in northern
Norway. The northward expansion of aquaculture is due to a combination of large areas still
available for development, fewer problems with salmon lice and other infectious diseases and
anticipated warmer water as a consequence of climate change (Winther et al. 2013). Linked
to this increase are environmental challenges such as increased spread of infectious diseases
and parasites, increased organic pollution from waste as well as conflicts related to area use.
Climatic warming is also expected to impact the Norwegian fishing industry as fish stocks and
fishing areas are predicted to shift northward and the productivity of commercially important
species is expected to increase in the Barents Sea (Stenevik & Sundby 2007, Drinkwater 2011,
Kjesbu et al. 2014). Fishing is a major human driver of change to the arctic marine ecosystems
(Fauchald et al. 2014); however, how climate change will affect the fishing industry and its
impact on the ecosystem is largely unknown. Because of the pristine nature of the North,
there has been considerable growth in nature-based tourism in recent years and there is the
potential for further growth (Enger et al. 2013). Finally, the development of wind, tidal and
hydroelectric power in northern Norway is expected to continue as a consequence of the
anticipated increase in demand for renewable energy (Halvorsen et al. 2013). In addition to
the expansion of several established industries, new industries are expected to develop within
the marine sector. These new industries include aquaculture based on new species and
technologies as well as biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries based on the
extraction of arctic marine biological materials (Winther et al. 2013). The overall increase in
industrial activity, combined with a highly interlinked global economy, will demand more
specialized labor and new and modernized infrastructure including roads, ports, shipping
routes and power-lines. This development will certainly have consequences for the combined
anthropogenic environmental impact and will possibly also increase the number of conflicts
with traditional area-demanding industries such as reindeer-herding and agriculture.
The expected industrial development is associated with a number of environmental
stressors (also sometimes referred to as “pressures”). Stressors are the physical, chemical and
biological components of the activity that impact the surrounding environment (Clarke
Murray et al. 2014). Under this definition, one activity may produce a suite of stressors. For
example, the marine petroleum industry may produce stressors such as noise from ships and
seismic shooting; planned discharge of produced water, drilling fluids and cuttings; risk of
accidental oil spills; emissions from gas flaring and alteration/destruction of habitats and
cultural heritage sites due to the construction of plants and infrastructure (e.g., Peterson
2001, Elvidge et al. 2009, von Quillfeldt 2010, Bakke et al. 2013, Blanchard et al. 2014). The
environmental impacts from the fishing industry also involve a number of stressors, including
removal of targeted species, incidental by-catch, habitat destruction due to bottom trawling,
fisheries discharge, dumping of plastic debris and loss of fishing gear (e.g., Dayton et al. 1995,
Pikitch et al. 2004, Hiddink et al. 2006, von Quillfeldt 2010). During recent decades, the
environmental impacts from these and other industrial activities have been addressed by
environmental research, and due to management actions and mitigating measures
implemented by the industries themselves, the environmental impacts have, in many cases,
been greatly reduced (e.g., Gray et al. 1999, von Quillfeldt 2010, Bakke et al. 2013, Gullestad
et al. 2014). Continued research on environmental impacts will therefore be instrumental for
sustainable development of industrial activities in the North.
5
Meld. St. 22 (2012–2013) Verdens fremste sjømatnasjon.
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MIKON Scientific Program
How industrial development will impact arctic ecosystems and their ability to deliver
ecosystem services will also depend on ecosystem characteristics, such as ecosystem
vulnerability, resilience and biodiversity. Ecosystems in the North are often characterized by
strong seasonality, large annual fluctuations and low biodiversity. Northern terrestrial systems
have low productivity and show low resilience when faced with human perturbations. In
addition to strong seasonality, arctic marine ecosystems are characterized by large spatial
variation in productivity linked to physical features such as frontal areas and sea-ice formation.
Cultural heritage sites and cultural environments in the North are primarily formed by longterm subsistence use and occupancy by indigenous peoples (Krupnik et al. 2004). Ongoing
climate change is currently transforming the ecosystems of the North at an accelerating rate
(AMAP 2011, CAFF 2013, Fauchald et al. 2014, Ims et al. 2014). A major challenge for MIKON
will therefore be to identify the combined impacts of new and existing industries on arctic
ecosystems at the same time that these systems are experiencing directional changes due to
global warming, a globalized economy and new technological innovations (Box 1).
Transport
Tourism
Oil & Gas
Conservation
Traditional
industries
Indigenous&local
people
Ecosystem
Fish farming New marine
industries
Mineral
Fisheries
Climate change, Globalization, Development of technology
Box 1: Sustainable management of new or expanding industries in the North requires knowledge of how
these activities impact the ecosystems and thereby affect the flow of ecosystem services to human
societies. Trade-offs among ecosystem services arise as a consequence of how direct drivers of
ecosystem change (arrows) draw on the natural capital (i.e., the ecosystem). The primary goal of
ecosystem-based management is to foster ecosystem services without compromising the system’s ability
to deliver such services. This goal is complicated by the fact that ecosystems in the North are subject to
accelerating changes caused by external drivers, including climate change and globalization (lower arrow).
2 Goals
2.1 Primary goal
MIKON will provide new knowledge of the potential environmental impacts of industrial
development in the North. Environmental impacts are defined as the combined impacts on
habitats, organisms, ecosystems, cultural heritage and human societies. The research will be
problem-oriented, exploring solutions to environmental problems and directions to achieve
environmentally sustainable development. The knowledge will be relevant to and will facilitate
 ecosystem-based management
 the development of environmentally friendly industries
 sustainable governance of arctic communities
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MIKON Scientific Program
2.2 Sub-goals
To achieve the primary goal, MIKON will
1. Conduct synthesis research to support Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) by
a. Conducting analyses and developing methods to be used in integrated ecosystem
assessments.
b. Assessing the cumulative impacts from human stressors on the ecosystem and on
the provisioning of ecosystem services.
c. Assessing the vulnerability and resilience of northern ecosystems to new or
expanding industries.
2. Conduct observational and experimental studies of the environmental impacts of
industrial development in the North. Major research tasks include
a. Investigating the dispersion and distribution of emissions in air, and in aquatic
and terrestrial environments.
b. Identifying the environmental effects on organisms, populations, habitats,
landscapes and cultural heritage.
c. Studying mitigating measures to reduce environmental effects of industrial
activities.
d. Investigating the restoration of northern ecosystems.
3. Conduct studies of socio-ecological systems to evaluate how new and existing industries
in the North affect
a. Ecosystem services available to local and indigenous people, including traditional
pastoral (e.g., reindeer herding) and subsistence activities.
b. Sustainable development and governance of communities in the North.
3 Research Priorities
The goals of MIKON encompass a broad range of applied and interdisciplinary research
questions demanding a diversity of approaches from the natural and social sciences.
Accordingly, most projects hosted by MIKON will be multi- or interdisciplinary, drawing on the
diversity of competence found within the institutions in the Fram Centre. The flagship
program will be organized into three research themes, each addressing one of the three areas
of application outlined in the primary goal and the corresponding set of sub-goals (Figure 1).
Primary research will be carried out within themes 2 and 3, whereas Theme I will be an
umbrella activity synthesizing knowledge relevant to Ecosystem-Based Management. Where
feasible, comprehensive case studies will encompass both themes 2 and 3, linking studies on
the environmental impacts of new and existing industries with studies of how industrial
development affects northern communities and the ecosystem services available to local
people.
3.1 Specification of research activities
MIKON is one of six flagship research programs in the Fram Centre; several of the other
flagship programs conduct research activities relevant to MIKON. The following constraints
will apply to MIKON:
 MIKON will prioritize studies on the environmental impacts of the following industrial
activities: petroleum exploration and exploitation, renewable energy production,
mineral exploitation/mining, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, construction of
infrastructure (e.g., roads and power lines) and tourism.
7
MIKON Scientific Program


All parts of the environment, i.e., aquatic (marine, coastal and limnic) and terrestrial
ecosystems, are to be covered by MIKON.
MIKON will concentrate its research in northern Fennoskandia, Svalbard, the
northern Norwegian Sea, the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Where relevant,
regional and circumpolar comparative studies will be considered.
MIKON
Environmental Impacts from Industrial Development in the North
Theme 1: Knowledge base for Ecosystem-Based
Management
Application: Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM)
WP1: Science support for Integrated Ecosystem Assessments
WP2: The vulnerability and resilience of northern ecosystems
to new and expanding industries
Theme 2: Impacts on
organisms, habitats and
ecosystems
Theme 3: Impacts on
ecosystem services and
social-ecological systems
Application: Environmentally
friendly industries
Application: Sustainable
governance
WP3: Dispersion of emissions in
air, aquatic and terrestrial
environments
WP4: Environmental effects
WP5: Restoration of northern
ecosystems
WP6: Consequences for
ecosystem services
WP7: Sustainable development of
social-ecological systems
Figure 1. The scientific organization of MIKON in three research themes. Each theme addresses a specific application
given by the primary goal and a set of work-packages related to the sub-goals. Synthesis research under Theme I will
draw on primary research conducted under themes 2 and 3. Comprehensive case-studies could combine research
under both themes 2 and 3.
4 Theme I - Knowledge base for Ecosystem-Based
Management
Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) is the adaptive and integrative management of human
activities with the objective of fostering ecosystem services through sustainable use of
resources without compromising the integrity of the ecosystem (Box 1, sensu Christensen et
al. 1996, Szaro et al. 1998, Levin & Lubchenco 2008). This management approach is a
fundamental part of the Convention on Biological Diversity6, it has been endorsed as the
preferred management strategy for the Arctic by the Arctic Council7, it has become a part of
Norway’s environmental legislation8, and it has been implemented as a leading principle for
the management of marine ecosystems in Norway9. EBM must be supported by a
6
www.cbd.int
Arctic Council (2013) Ecosystem-Based Management in the Arctic
8
Lov om biologisk mangfold, 2009
9
E.g. Meld. St. 37 (2008-2009), Meld. St. 10 (2010–2011)
7
8
MIKON Scientific Program
comprehensive knowledge base (Christensen et al. 1996, Leslie & McLeod 2007, Halpern et al.
2008a, Carpenter et al. 2009, Lester et al. 2010) and the primary goal of Theme I is therefore
to synthesize existing knowledge relevant to Ecosystem-Based Management of industrial
development in northern and arctic areas.
4.1 Flagship competence
The institutions in the Fram Centre are responsible for or partners in many of the ongoing and
planned monitoring programs and systems in the Arctic including: COAT, Climate-Ecological
Observatory for Arctic Tundra (Ims et al. 2013); SEAPOP (www.seapop.no); Marine Ecosystem
Surveys in the Barents Sea (Eriksen 2012); and MOSJ, Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard
and Jan Mayen (http://mosj.npolar.no). Several institutions and researchers are involved in
Integrated Ecosystem Assessments under these programs and other initiatives, nationally
(e.g., Fauchald et al. 2014, Ims et al. 2014, van der Meeren et al. 2014) and internationally
(e.g., AMAP 2011, CAFF 2013). The research institutions in the Fram Centre have broad and
complementary competence covering all scientific areas relevant for EBM in the Arctic. This
includes knowledge of human and natural drivers; ecosystem services; and socio-cultural and
ecosystem structure, function and dynamics. Relevant knowledge is obtained partly through
other research flagships in the Fram Centre and also through monitoring, mapping and
research.
4.2 WP 1 - Science support for Integrated Ecosystem
Assessments
4.2.1 Background
An EBM approach is enabled by Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs). IEAs are decisionsupport tools that follow standardized protocols to systematize and assess the knowledge of
the ecosystem and the combined impacts from human activities (Levin et al. 2009, Foley et al.
2013). In Norway, such assessments are used as decision-support tools for the management
of marine ecosystems (e.g., von Quillfeldt 2010, van der Meeren et al. 2014) and terrestrial
ecosystems (e.g., Vongraven 2013). Irrespective of the specific protocol, IEAs typically include
the development and monitoring of relevant and applicable ecosystem indicators (Dale &
Beyeler 2001), they assess the combined or cumulative impact from multiple human activities
on the ecosystem (Crain et al. 2008, Halpern et al. 2008b, Halpern & Fujita 2013), and they
assess how human activities impact the ecosystem’s ability to deliver ecosystem services (de
Groot et al. 2010), generating trade-offs between ecosystem services (Bennett et al. 2009,
Allan et al. 2013, Lester et al. 2013). These are, therefore, important research topics relevant
for the management of new and expanding industries in the Arctic. Extensive and relevant
datasets and numerous case studies are available for the Arctic, and there is a need to
synthesize and review existing information to provide knowledge that can be implemented in
IEAs. It is important that this activity do not overlap with, but contribute to, the ongoing
assessments already taking place in national or international organizations.
4.2.2 Research tasks

For integrated ecosystem assessments,
o Syntheses of existing socio-ecological systems.
o Evaluate the relevance and applicability of existing, and develop new,
ecosystem indicators, indexes and synthesis methods for use in EBM.
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MIKON Scientific Program



For cumulative impact of multiple human activities on ecosystems,
o Assess the interactions among human activities, stressors and ecosystem
impacts.
o Contribute to the development of methods to assess and map the cumulative
impact on ecosystems.
For trade-offs among ecosystem services,
o Map ecosystem services and evaluate possible trade-offs and synergies.
o Use existing ecosystem models to explore possible trade-offs and synergies.
Contribute to the development of methods that link and map human activity,
cumulative impacts and ecosystem services.
4.3 WP 2 - The vulnerability and resilience of northern ecosystems
to new and expanding industries
4.3.1 Background
Vulnerability is defined as the degree to which a system is likely to experience harm due to
exposure to a specified stressor (Turner et al. 2003, Adger 2006). Assessing the vulnerability
of an ecosystem to a specific human activity, therefore, provides managers with information
as to whether a system is likely to be impacted by a particular stressor, and what components
of the system are likely to determine the impact (De Lange et al. 2010). Vulnerability is
generally considered to be a function of how the assessed human activity exposes the system
to hazards, the potential impact from the stressors (i.e. sensitivity), and the adaptive capacity
and resilience of the system when faced with perturbations (Turner et al. 2003, De Lange et
al. 2010). Of particular importance is resilience, the capacity of a system to absorb
perturbations and sustain its fundamental function and structure (Holling 1973, Folke 2006).
Loss of resilience pushes a system closer to its limits, and when resilience has eroded, a small
disturbance may push the system over a threshold into an alternative state (Folke et al. 2004,
Scheffer et al. 2012). Such regime shifts or “tipping points” are enabled by amplifying and
stabilizing positive feedback mechanisms (Scheffer & Carpenter 2003, Scheffer et al. 2012),
and it is essential to provide knowledge on how human activities might erode resilience and
impact important feedback mechanisms in the ecosystem.
4.3.2 Research tasks



Ecosystem vulnerability
o Identify key factors determining ecosystem vulnerability when introducing a
specific industrial activity.
o Compare the vulnerability of different ecosystems with respect to the
introduction of a specific industrial activity.
o Identify sensitive species and their key habitats to minimize or avoid conflict
with these organisms.
Components of resilience
o Evaluate how biodiversity, productivity and key functional groups contribute
to ecosystem resilience in the North.
o Identify how industrial activities might erode or enhance key components of
ecosystem resilience.
Tipping points
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MIKON Scientific Program

o Identify positive feedbacks that might result in ecosystem shifts and assess
how the management of existing human activities might trigger such
mechanisms.
Ecosystem regimes
o Identify and map the existence of different ecosystem regimes and their
relationship with human stressors.
4.4 Approaches and Methods
The synthesis research in Theme I will be based on results and data from Theme II and Theme
III, as well as existing datasets and literature. There are several relevant datasets available
from the institutions represented at the Fram Centre and elsewhere. Such datasets include
spatial and/or temporal data on terrestrial and marine ecosystems; data on human activities,
stressors and impact on ecosystems; and data on the use of ecosystem services. Data have
been collected through regular monitoring and mapping, through various designated impact
assessments and in research projects. A significant amount of information is also available in
the form of environmental impact assessments and reports in the gray and the scientific
literature. The approaches to synthesis research will include i) extraction of data, combining
datasets, conducting statistical analyses and modeling; ii) developing predictive models to
map and assess ecosystem vulnerability and the consequences of human activities with
respect to ecosystem integrity and ecosystem services; and iii) collecting and extracting
information from the gray and the scientific literature and conducting meta-analyses and
qualitative reviews.
MIKON should not overlap with ongoing work on management processes but should
contribute to research in collaboration with these initiatives. Theme I therefore encourages
synthesis and development of methods and models that support integrated management
processes nationally (e.g., Integrated Management of the Barents and Norwegian Seas,
Management Plans for the protected areas in Svalbard and northern Norway, the
Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen (MOSJ)) and internationally (e.g., Arctic
Council, International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), the Joint NorwegianRussian Environmental Committee, the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission and
Barents Council).
5 Theme II - Impacts of industrial activity on organisms,
habitats and ecosystems
The main goal of Theme II is to investigate how different industrial activities affect habitats,
organisms and ecosystems in the North. The scientific information concerning environmental
effects of different types of industrial activities has grown substantially in recent years,
especially for temperate ecosystems. The knowledge of effects on arctic organisms and
ecosystems is also growing, but there are still substantial gaps with regard to environmental
impacts and environmental consequences. In addition, there is a need for more knowledge on
how to minimize the environmental footprint of industrial activities through environmentally
friendly production.
11
MIKON Scientific Program
5.1 Flagship competence
Several institutions within the Fram Centre have significant expertise on arctic organisms and
ecosystems, encompassing both terrestrial (UiT, UNIS, NPI, NINA, Bioforsk, NRPA, Skog og
landskap, NILU) and aquatic environments (IMR, UiT, NPI, NINA, UNIS, ApN, NRPA, Nofima,
NILU). New knowledge of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems is constantly produced
by other flagships in the Fram Centre and will serve as important background data for impact
studies carried out by MIKON. In addition to biological competence, there are accomplished
groups working with the physical environment (e.g., physical and chemical oceanography,
atmospheric processes, soil geochemistry). Several institutions have worked extensively on
impacts of various human activities on arctic species and ecosystems, including aquaculture,
petroleum, mining, fisheries, ship traffic, tourism, forestry, agriculture, and reindeer
husbandry.
5.2 WP 3 - Dispersion of industrial emissions in air and in aquatic
and terrestrial environments
5.2.1 Background
Different industries will release different emissions into the air, seawater, freshwater or onto
land. Some of these emissions are planned (e.g., drill cuttings, chemicals and produced water
generated by the petroleum industry, tailings from mineral extraction, fuel gases, ballast
water from ships), whereas others may be accidental (e.g., oil spills from ships or offshore
installations, radioactive isotopes from nuclear power plants, nuclear submarines or dumped
nuclear waste). Knowledge of the dispersion of emissions from different industries in the
environment is a prerequisite for assessing potential effects and environmental risk. The aim
of WP 3 is to develop new knowledge of the distribution of industrial emissions in air, aquatic
and terrestrial environments.
Examples of relevant emissions:
Emissions to air: Increased petroleum activity and ship traffic in the North will increase the
emission of CO2, NOx, SO2, ozone, and other gases, as well as a variety of aerosols and particles.
The gas emissions and the particles (e.g., black carbon, BC) from fuel combustion will have
effects on the local and global climate (IPCC 2014, Keegan et al. 2014, Yang et al. 2014). BC
particles may also carry various contaminants of petrogenic or pyrogenic origin (Fingas et al.
1996). BC in the Arctic has received attention primarily due to its atmospheric climate-forcing
properties and effects on snow/ice albedo, but the toxic aspects of associated contaminants
have been overlooked (Fingas et al. 1996, Shindell and Faluvegi 2009, Hodson 2014).
As an example of land-based industrial activities, mining operations will also lead to
emissions into the air, e.g., as gases from combustion and as dust and aerosols containing
metal and metalloid contaminants as well as other harmful chemicals. There is also a need to
measure and understand the formation, fate and transport of airborne particulates from
mining operations, specifically the finer particle fractions (Csavina et al. 2012).
Emissions to the marine environment: Potential discharges into the marine
environment (produced water, drill cuttings, chemicals, mine tailings, ballast water, marine
diesel, heavy oil, radionuclides etc.) have different physical and chemical characteristics.
Therefore, a broad selection of methods and models must be available to evaluate dispersion,
deposition and degradation in the environment. There is, for example, a need to improve
existing oceanographic models with regard to the three-dimensional flow of emissions.
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Models for the dispersal and fate of oil in ice-filled waters must also be developed (TemaNord,
2008).
An important environmental challenge for the mining industry is the deposition of
waste rock and fine-grained tailings on land or in the sea. These waste products can cover
large areas and are sources of metals, radionuclides and other chemicals used during
production (Allan 1995). There is a need for empirical data and models that can be used to
predict the chemical, physical and biological processes occurring within the deposits. In
addition, more information about how the deposits interact with external factors, such as
subsea slides, river systems and fjord circulation is required.
The aquaculture industry produces organic waste, both from food spills and from feces
(Dempster et al. 2009, Valdemarsen et al. 2012). In addition, pharmaceuticals and other
pollutants can be released from fish farms (Bustnes et al. 2010), and parasites (e.g., salmon
lice) and diseases may spread from farmed fish to wild fish and among farms (Heuch et al.
2005, Jansen et al. 2012, Serra-Llinares et al. 2014). Tools that can be uses to predict transport
of pollution and diseases/parasites are essential for sound management and development of
the aquaculture industry.
Emissions into terrestrial environments: Industrial emissions on land are numerous. For
example, tailing deposits pose challenges related to dispersion of dust and runoff (HudsonEdwards et al. 2011). There is a need for data and models that can be used to understand and
predict the chemical and physical processes that occur within landbased tailing deposits and
the dispersion of chemicals and particles through groundwater.
Construction activities associated with the establishment of various types of
infrastructure can lead to emissions into the terrestrial environment (e.g., dust, explosive
remains) (van Bohemen, 2003).
5.2.2 Research tasks




Develop and verify new/improved tools to model environmental distribution and fate
of emissions into air and into terrestrial or aquatic environments.
Collect empirical data and model the chemical and physical processes in deposits and
other emissions on land and in the aquatic environment.
Develop new monitoring methods that can be used to measure dispersion.
Produce data that can be used to develop environmentally friendly technologies and
operations.
5.2.3 Approaches and Methods
Impacts from industrial activities can be manifested on different temporal and spatial scales.
In MIKON, the primary focus will be on local and regional processes rather than on global
systems (i.e., large-scale climatic effects). A major task of WP3 will be the development and
verification of models to predict the spread of various industrial emissions. Data from
monitoring programs (e.g., air monitoring in Zeppelin, Andøya, MOSJ, AMAP, RAME, Radnett,
offshore monitoring), research programs (e.g., MAREANO, BARCUT, EWMA), and the
collection of new field data will be used to verify the models.
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5.3 WP 4 - Environmental effects of industrial activities
5.3.1 Background
Emissions from industrial activities, as well as the physical presence of vessels or infrastructure
may affect organisms and ecosystems. The various industrial activities produce a suite of
environmental stressors encompassing the emission of pollutants, the generation of organic
waste, habitat alteration and destruction, disturbance, the spread of diseases and invasive
species and the removal of renewable resources. For example, the petroleum industry may
produce stressors such as noise from ships and seismic shooting; produced water, production
chemicals, drilling fluids and cuttings; accidental oil spills; gases and particles from flaring; and
alteration/destruction of habitats and cultural heritage sites due to the construction of plants
and infrastructure (e.g., Peterson 2001, Elvidge et al. 2009, von Quillfeldt 2010, Bakke et al.
2013, Blanchard et al. 2014). A large number of studies on the effects of relevant stressors
from the petroleum industry have been conducted in recent years, but most of these have
been conducted using temperate species; often less is known about the impacts under arctic
conditions (Olsen et al. 2007, de Hoop et al. 2011). As another example, deposition of tailings
from mining operations result in large areas that are affected by material that has properties
(shape, particle size, organic content) different from natural particles in the same area. Tailings
may release metals, radionuclides and acidic run-off, and flocculants and floatation chemicals
may follow the tailings into land or sea deposits; little is known about the potential effects of
such chemicals, and even less is known about the combined effects of the different
contaminant groups10. A similar picture can be drawn for other relevant industrial activities in
the North, pinpointing the need for further research on singular industrial activities as well as
on a combination of industrial activities at one geographic location.
The aquaculture industry has several environmental challenges, including the escape
of animals from net pens (increasing the risk for genetic mixing and deprivation of wild salmon
stocks), dispersion of diseases and parasites (e.g., salmon lice), and organic enrichment
(Sægrov et al. 1997, Cliford et al. 1998, Besnier et al. 2011, Jansen et al. 2012; Serra-Llinares
et al. 2014).
The fishing industry has challenges related to, e.g., habitat destruction due to bottom
trawling, discharge of fish, dumping of plastic debris, and loss of fishing gear (Dayton et al.
1995, Pikitch et al. 2004, Hiddink et al. 2006, von Quillfeldt 2010).
All activities that cause noise (e.g., tourism, construction work, industrial plants,
helicopters, seismic shooting, ship propellers or renewable energy production) can affect
animals in various ways. It is important to increase our knowledge of how noise affects both
terrestrial species (primarily birds and mammals) and marine species (Doom et al. 2013).
Increased tourism will lead to increased wear on terrestrial vegetation and elements
of cultural heritage. There is a lack of knowledge regarding the effects of human activity on
nature and cultural heritage and how to address any negative influences (Hagen et al. 2012).
As outlined in the examples above, different activities generate different sets of
stressors, and it is a challenging task to assess their environmental impacts, especially in
combination (Adams 2005, Crain et al. 2008, Clarke Murray et al. 2014). It is also challenging
to study how impacts on lower levels of organization translate into effects at the population,
landscape or ecosystem level (Adams 2005). There are also few studies that address the
combined environmental effects from industrial activities (Clarke Murray et al. 2014).
10
NHD 2013: Strategi for mineralnæringen.
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Knowledge as to whether and to what extent a specific industrial activity may affect
the environment is necessary to prevent and reduce potential unwanted effects as well as to
develop viable industries. Thus, it is important to account for both positive and negative
environmental effects of industrial activities. For instance, it is known that fish farms may
cause wild fish to aggregate so close to the farm that the farms act as refugia, making wild fish
locally unavailable for commercial fishing (Dempster et al. 2010). On the other hand, when
regional landings have been compared, the findings suggest that establishment of fish-farming
activities have led to an increase in fisheries landings, possibly due to increased nutrient
availability from organic waste (Machias et al. 2006).
The aim of WP4 is to develop new knowledge of the environmental impacts of
stressors from new and expanding industrial activities in the North. Included in this aim are
studies of the effect of mitigating measures and environmental impacts from industrial coexistence. These studies will address knowledge gaps and explicitly address stressors from
relevant industrial activities in the North.
5.3.2 Research tasks




Identify and quantify effects of relevant stressors produced by specific industrial
activities on habitats, organisms, populations, ecosystems, landscapes and cultural
heritage.
Identify and quantify combined effects of multiple stressors (from one type of industry
or from industrial co-existence).
Quantify effects of mitigating measures.
Develop knowledge that can be used to reduce environmental impacts caused by
established/new industrial activity.
5.3.3 Approaches and Methods
Both field and laboratory studies will be important to achieve the objective of WP4. Mesocosm
experiments can also be useful tools because they allow for controlled testing under natural
environmental conditions. It will also be important to conduct correlative studies in natural
settings, i.e., using spatial or temporal heterogeneity exposure to quantify the relationship
between stressor and response. Studies on different life stages of key species will be
important to establish threshold levels for effects and possibly dose-response relationships,
but studies involving intact communities should also be prioritized to evaluate effects in
systems with natural species interactions. Emphasis will be on biological functions and life
history strategies that are critical for individual fitness and population health. Methods that
can be used to evaluate long-term trans-generational impacts (e.g., epigenetics) will also be
important.
5.4 WP 5 - Restoration of northern Ecosystems
5.4.1 Background
In arctic areas, awareness of disturbances is a rather recent phenomenon. Pioneering
attempts for restoration started only in the early 1970s in North America, in connection with
the construction of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline (McKendrick 2000). Today, ecological
restoration of terrestrial ecosystems is still in its early stages in the circumpolar North, and the
state of the art of restoration methods for northern ecosystems is far from sufficient. Several
of the approved materials and methods from lower latitudes and elevations have failed when
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applied to more difficult environments (Krautzer et al. 2012). In general, the number of
methods that are successfully applicable declines with increasing latitude and elevation
(Krautzer & Wittmann 2006). Furthermore, there is a lack of systematic investigation of
feasible materials and methods for the restoration of northern ecosystems. The modification
or development of new materials and methods may be necessary for particularly challenging
sites. At various sites in terrestrial arctic–alpine environments, successful restoration efforts
may require many years or even decades (Streever et al. 2003, Rydgren et al. 2011). The
deficiency of long term assessments complicates the selection of best practices.
Anthropogenic impacts on northern ecosystems are not restricted to terrestrial
systems. Fishery and aquaculture industries, among others, may have significant but less
perceptible effects on freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems. Kelp forests in northern
Norway have been over-grazed by green sea urchins (Stongylocentrotus droebachiensis)
(Norderhaug & Christie 2009), and attempts at restoration by removing urchins using highcalcium quicklime have recently been undertaken in Porsangerfjord. Such efforts require still
more attention. Terrestrial, freshwater and marine northern ecosystems may be closely
interrelated, e.g., bird cliffs or estuaries. Restoration of northern ecosystem should thus
consider interactions with associated systems.
Future use and exploitation of northern ecosystems cannot be avoided, but any
necessary disturbance should be carried out in ways that minimize undesirable environmental
impacts and consequences. Thus, restoration often starts prior to the first disturbance
(Krautzer et al. 2012). The aim of WP 5 is to develop and approve best practice materials and
methods for the restoration of northern ecosystems.
5.4.2 Research tasks
• Develop feasible materials and methods for the restoration of northern ecosystems.
• Conduct long term assessments of restoration practices.
• Develop best practices for the restoration of various northern ecosystems.
5.4.3 Approaches and Methods
Statistical tools and models should be used to assess variation in the baseline of ecosystems.
Areas already affected by industrial activities will be used as field laboratories, where natural
recovery or the effects of assisted restoration can be followed. To evaluate the effects of
recovery/restoration, a multidisciplinary approach, involving disciplines such as ecology,
ecotoxicology and environmental economics, should be taken.
6 Theme III - Impacts of industrial development on
ecosystem services and socio-ecological systems in the
North
Complex environmental challenges linked to new and expanding industrial activities imply
trade-offs among various social considerations. Theme III covers new, integrated and
interdisciplinary research on the environmental impacts of industrial development in the
North. New and expanding industries may affect biodiversity, ecosystems, cultural
environments, communities and indigenous peoples of the North. This includes experiencebased knowledge, evolved through practice in primary industries and pastoralism. New
industries have impacts on the social, cultural and economic conditions in local communities,
which may involve changes in the use and valuation of ecosystem services. The research
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activities should include comparative, interdisciplinary studies of how area-consuming
industries impact key components of the ecosystem, local ecosystem services and social
preferences regarding different ecosystem services. Cultural heritage is understood as an
integrated part of ecosystem services.
The establishment of new industries may affect ecosystems as well as social, cultural
and economic conditions of local societies, including the valuation of ecosystem services. The
focus of Theme III is on the impact of new and expanding industries on socio-cultural systems
and the effects of industries and their related infrastructure, on the provision of ecosystem
services in terrestrial and marine areas of the Arctic. Ecosystem services include supply
services (e.g., food provision, firewood, timber, drinking water), regulatory services (e.g.,
climatic regulation, water flooding, erosion, pathogens), socio-cultural services (e.g., cultural
heritage, recreation, religious and aesthetic values (Daniel et al. 2012, Plieninger et al. 2013),
as well as support services (e.g., fertile soil formation, primary production, habitat for
biodiversity) (Wallace 2007). Socio-ecological systems emphasize the integrative concept of
humans-in-nature (Berkes et al. 2000) and a multi-disciplinary approach that couples social
and ecological systems. The ecosystem services and social-ecological system approaches are
anthropocentric in the sense that they focus on how humans and socio-economic/sociocultural systems act upon ecosystems and are affected by ecosystem processes.
Considering the scope of Theme III and the need for comparative studies within the
Arctic region, it will be appropriate to pool MIKON funding with national and international
funding through collaborative research projects.
6.1 WP 6 - Consequences of industrial development for ecosystem
services
6.1.1 Background
Ecosystem services (ES) describe the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems, as well as
the capacity of ecosystems to produce such benefits. The ES concept has become increasingly
significant for multidisciplinary research in the field of ecological change and environmental
governance (Chapin et al. 2010). Valuation of ecosystem services as a governance instrument
is recommended by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
(IPBES) (Perrings et al. 2011, NOU 2013). The ES concept is useful for analytic integration of
ecosystems and economic systems (Fisher et al. 2009), but it has also been criticized for a
simplistic representation of nature as a stock that provides a flow of services (Norgaard 2010).
In some cases, such as supply and support services for primary industries, the value of
ES is straightforward, whereas in other cases, ES valuation involves complex relationships
(Plieninger et al. 2013). Given the functional importance of individual species for ecosystem
services, as well as the importance of ES for the maintenance of traditional livelihoods and
culture, arctic socio-ecological systems require special attention (Post et al. 2009). Because of
the large spatio-temporal variation in abiotic and biotic conditions, primary industries in arctic
environments are dependent on access to large areas to ensure continuous production.
Fragmentation and reduction of natural habitats, cultural environments, pastures for reindeer
and other livestock as well as occupation of marine areas by new industries, affect spatiotemporal use patterns and create conflicts with existing primary industries. Industrial
development and changes in livelihood patterns may also change peoples´ valuation of ES.
Active involvement of stakeholders and communities is essential for embracing traditional
ecological knowledge (TEK) and variability in ES valuation among different cultures and
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livelihoods and for identifying ES that are essential to resilience, maintenance of cultural
identity and community integrity. There is a need for research on identification of important
providers of ES and on how anthropogenic environmental change influences ES providers in
arctic ecosystems (Post et al. 2009), including long term changes in ecosystem structure
related to human impact (Pauly 1995). It is also relevant to apply the ES approach to analyze
trade-offs amongst pertinent benefits (Wallace 2007). Balancing ES provisioning for extensive
land use activities, such as reindeer herding or livestock farming, aquaculture or fisheries,
cultural heritage or recreation, against alternative benefits created by developing industries,
are examples of such trade-offs.
6.1.2 Research tasks





Identify and assess the value of critical ES in northern environments.
Document past and present changes in human impacts on ecosystems and provision
of ecosystem services linked to industrial activities in the North.
Document changes in use and valuation of ES in local communities and among
indigenous peoples, including use and valuation of cultural heritage and traditional
knowledge.
Evaluate the effects of expanding and emerging industries on key components of ES
provision in northern regions, and how their footprint on ES may be minimized.
Evaluate the potential and limitations of ES tradeoffs, to improve ES as an instrument
for integrated environmental assessments and governance in the North.
6.1.3 Approaches and Methods
The research approach will be cross-disciplinary, involving disciplines such as biology, ecology,
environmental economics, ecological economics, political science, geography, anthropology
and archaeology. The emphasis will be on case-studies and multidisciplinary, comparative and
secondary studies within an ES framework. There is a need for mixed methodology and
integrative models to encompass ecological, socio-economic and cultural elements of ES
provision and ES trade-offs.
6.2 WP 7 - Sustainable development of socio-ecological systems
6.2.1 Background
How socio-ecological systems (SES) can be developed in a sustainable manner is a major
question in current environmental research (Folke et al. 2005, Ostrom 2009). Emerging and
expanding industrial development in the Arctic has direct and indirect impacts on elements of
SES, including ecosystems, cultural heritage, communities and primary industries. Industrial
development and adjacent infrastructure impact the traditional use of land and natural
resources by indigenous peoples and local communities, such as reindeer herding, agriculture
and fisheries, hunting, trapping and gathering.
There is a need for knowledge on how industries in the Arctic can be developed in an
environmentally, economically and socially sustainable way, without violating the integrity
and resilience of the SES (Folke et al. 2010), including indigenous communities and traditional
industries. This need includes knowledge of key sustainability challenges resulting from the
interaction of physical and social environmental change as well as knowledge of the
vulnerability and adaptive capacity of SES in northern regions. Regional case studies and
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comparative studies of different SES where new industries have been established can
contribute to an integrative analysis of the impact on natural and cultural environments; local
communities; and peoples’ access to land, sea and freshwater areas/resources. Studies of long
term changes in arctic SES related to past industrial resource harvesting are needed to
establish a temporal perspective on present trends, and provide a broader understanding of
ecological baselines (Jackson et al. 2001).
There is also a need for studies that compare how compensatory measures and
benefit-sharing have been applied to balance industrial development and the interests of
indigenous and local people, as well as studies that document which value bases have been
represented and applied (Soupajärvi 2003, Nilsen 2010). This also applies to studies of
stakeholder involvement in development processes, the integration of indigenous people’s
knowledge, and other local ecological knowledge as a legitimate part of knowledge-based
governance and planning processes for industrial development in the North (Usher 2000,
Eythórsson & Brattland 2012). Indigenous peoples and communities are potentially active
agents that are able to engage in such processes, provided that there is adequate leadership
capacity and access to governance institutions (Broderstad & Eythórsson 2014). Community
sustainability (Clark 2007, Kates 2011) and community resilience (Folke 2006, Folke et al. 2010)
refer to the conditions under which a community can continue with at least its current state
of health, welfare and prosperity, and that allow for continued improvement. Social and
cultural integrity involve sustaining the continuous development of indigenous culture and
activities as its core values and attributes evolve in response to changing conditions.
Comparative studies, both primary and secondary, are particularly relevant for this WP.
6.2.2 Research tasks






Conduct comparative interdisciplinary studies of SES in northern regions to identify
sustainability challenges of industrial activities as well as ecological and socio-cultural
indicators of sustainability.
Develop models/methods to assess sustainability of industrial activities in northern
SES and how to balance the footprint of industrial activities with sustainable SES.
Conduct studies of long term development trends in arctic SES in relation to industrial
resource exploitation.
Document communication and perception of risk related to different industrial
activities.
Conduct interdisciplinary studies of community and stakeholder involvement in
planning and governance processes for areas of use in northern regions, including the
integration of indigenous/traditional ecological knowledge in such processes, and how
local involvement and different values affect SES sustainability and resilience.
Conduct comparative interdisciplinary studies of industrial development processes
involving compensatory measures and benefit-sharing with indigenous communities
and traditional industries, with emphasis on the effect of such measures on differing
interpretations of sustainability and resilience of SES.
7 Organization of the flagship
The leader of the flagship is Per Fauchald from the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research
(NINA); the co-leader is Anita Evenset from Akvaplan-niva. Each of the three research themes
is chaired by a theme-leader and co-leader from a different Fram Centre member institution
(see organizational chart, appendix 1). Thus, the management team consists of eight
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researchers representing eight different institutions. The management team will be
responsible for the flagship’s project portfolio, addressing the goals of the scientific plan. In
addition, the team will initiate relevant new research activities and will be responsible for
contact with stakeholders, outreach and overall reporting from the flagship. Based on the
scientific plan, the ongoing research activities, and the directions resulting from the flagship
meeting (see below), the management team will make an annual call for research proposals
open to the Fram Centre member institutions. After an external evaluation of the scientific
quality of the proposals by an appointed scientific panel, the management team will compile
a prioritized list of projects recommended for funding.
Stakeholder involvement will be an important part of the organization of the flagship, and an
advisory board consisting of representatives from the environmental management
authorities, the industry and environmental NGOs will be established. The board will be
informed about the progress and plans for the flagship at regular meetings with the
management team and will provide guidance with respect to the relevance of the ongoing
research. The advisory board, together with all Fram Centre member institutions, will be
invited to the annual Flagship Meeting. At these meetings, the scientific progress and
knowledge gaps will be discussed. The meetings will be instrumental for outlining the research
direction and priorities, as well as initiating new cross-cutting research activities.
The research questions addressed by MIKON are applied and will, in most cases, require an
interdisciplinary approach. The Fram Centre hosts researchers from a wide spectrum of
disciplines relevant to the research tasks of MIKON: archeology, anthropology, political
science, economy, sociology, ecology, biology, ecotoxicology, radioecology, chemistry,
oceanography, meteorology, statistics and modeling. Through the existing flagships, the Fram
Centre has prioritized interdisciplinary and collaborative research, enabling comprehensive
research initiatives across institutions and disciplines. MIKON will benefit from this tradition
and will build interdisciplinary research teams addressing the objectives of the scientific plan.
The research goals of MIKON are overlapping or complementary with the goals of several
other flagships at the Fram Centre. The “Fjord and Coast” Flagship investigates the relative
importance of natural variation and anthropogenic drivers for coastal ecosystems. The “Arctic
Ocean” Flagship will, among other tasks, assess the environmental impacts of the expansion
of shipping, fishing and petroleum activities in the Arctic Ocean. These objectives are closely
related to MIKON’s research objectives under Themes I and II. MIKON’s management team
will therefore collaborate closely with the Fjord and Coast as well as the Arctic Ocean flagships
to generate synergies and conduct complementary research in coastal areas and the Arctic
Ocean, respectively. The “Hazardous Substances” Flagship investigates the environmental
impacts of long-distance and local pollution in the Arctic. This overlaps with the objective of
MIKON’s Theme II, and impact studies on pollution will be coordinated with the Hazardous
Substances Flagship. Finally, the “Terrestrial” Flagship investigates climate impacts on socioecological systems, and collaborative projects are especially relevant under MIKON’s Theme
III.
8 CV and competence
Short versions of the CVs of the management team are provided in Appendix 1 and CVs of
relevant Fram Centre member institutions are provided in Appendix 2.
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9 Education: Contributions from the flagship
PhD and master’s students will be directly involved in the research projects hosted by MIKON.
Several Fram Centre projects covering MIKON-relevant topics have already engaged master’s
and PhD students enrolled at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway or other national
universities. In particular, MIKON is highly relevant for the new bachelor’s and master’s
programs in arctic ecotoxicology and management, which are under development at UiT.
However, due to the interdisciplinary focus, projects hosted by MIKON will offer master’s and
PhD projects within several different study programs from social to natural sciences. Students
taking part in MIKON projects will be a part of the ARCTOS networks and/or the AMINOR
research school, which are associated with the Fram Centre. Many of the researchers that will
take part in MIKON are also involved in the teaching of university courses at UNIS and UiT.
This will certainly promote knowledge transfer and enhance the educational aspect of MIKON.
There is a strong link between several institutions in the Fram Centre and Russian research
institutions, especially in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. This link will be important to increase
student exchange between Russia and Norway.
10 Publication and outreach
The applied focus of MIKON underscores the importance of direct user and stakeholder
involvement in the research projects. Relevant user and stakeholder groups include the
management authorities on national, regional and local levels; the industries covered by the
research; indigenous organizations; and various national, regional and local NGOs. Research
projects will therefore provide plans for stakeholder involvement and will, when relevant,
engage stakeholders in the formulation of research questions and the overall design of
research projects. MIKON will also inform stakeholders at regular meetings and through
technical and popular reports. In addition, user conferences where the results from existing
projects and new plans are presented will be organized every second year.
It is essential that MIKON maintains a high scientific standard, and the results of the research
will be published in international scientific journals with a peer-review system and presented
at scientific conferences. Each scientific publication will be followed by a popular science
article published on or linked from the Fram Centre outreach portal (www.framsenteret.no).
In addition, researchers working in MIKON will collaborate with Polaria and other knowledge
dissemination centers (e.g., Vitensenteret) to create exhibitions/installations that present
research results in different ways.
11 Budget and financing
The research goals of MIKON are ambitious, and the progress toward reaching these goals will
depend on the level of funding. In 2014, MIKON received a total funding of 7.0 mill NOK from
the Ministry of Climate and Environment. External funding from national and international
funding agencies (e.g., Norwegian Research Council, EU, Nordic Council of Ministers, industrial
organizations and private companies, etc.) will be essential for achieving the goals of the
scientific plan. Flagship funding will be used to support pilot projects that aim to develop
larger, relevant, high-quality projects funded by external national or international agencies.
Such projects will constitute the backbone of MIKON’s activity, and the flagship will build on
these projects by providing funding for auxiliary activities and bringing more researchers and
competence into the projects. Finally, funding from MIKON will be used strategically to fund
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projects that build interdisciplinary competence on topics necessary to reach the goals of the
scientific plan.
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