Questions of sustainability for Alaska and the Circumpolar North are the focus of RAP, exploring this topic through an investigation of global-local interactions, up- and down-scale effects, important feedbacks, adaptive capacity, and critical thresholds of social-ecological change.
Rapid directional change at high latitudes is largely driven by external climatic, economic, social, and cultural processes over which Alaskan policies and actions have little influence, creating a disconnect in global-local feedbacks and interactions. These external, global drivers of change have major impacts in both the biophysical and human dimensions.
The problems of cross-scale linkages and interactions to global change can be addressed by theories of social-ecological resilience and are particularly relevant at high latitudes.
Following this thinking, resilience is defined as the capacity of a social-ecological system to absorb disturbance and to reorganize, while undergoing change so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks. Vulnerability is defined as the function of the exposure to effects of change on a social-ecological system plus the capacity of that system to deal with that exposure.
- Interdisciplinary graduate training is available at the PhD or masters levels
- RAP is open to students at the University of Alaska and other universities
- Training integrates ecology, economics, anthropology, political science, the geosciences, and other relevant disciplines to address sustainability in a systems framework
- Interdisciplinary research opportunities are available in:
- Climate-Disturbance-Human Interactions
- Food Security
- Adaptive Resource Co-Management
- Sustainable Fisheries
- Alternative Energy
- Wildlife and Subsistence Resources
- Alaska Natives seeking the PhD are encouraged to apply