Subsistence Density Mapping

Subsistence Density Mapping Brings Practical Value to Decision Making

Fidel, M., Gofman, V., Kliskey, A., Alessa, L., Woelber, B. (2012) Subsistence density mapping brings practical value to decision making. In: C. Carothers, K.R. Criddle, C.P .Chambers, P.J. Cullenberg, J.A. Fall, A.H. Himes-Cornell, J.P. Johnsen, N.S. Kimball, C.R. Menzies, and E.S. Springer (eds.), Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change. Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks. doi: 10.4027/fpncemrc.2012.15

ABSTRACT: Identifying marine areas of significance for subsistence is crucial for preventing future conflicts between coastal communities and marine-based industries, which are expected to increase in the Arctic. Development can have both positive and negative effects on the communities that occupy the area. Although development may bring economic activity to economically depressed rural areas, development that disrupts subsistence has potential to affect food security, traditional practices, and well being of Indigenous communities. In order to examine areas of temporal and spatial overlap between development and subsistence, maps of Indigenous marine use are needed. The Bering Sea Sub-Network (BSSN) endeavors to address this need as one of its objectives. BSSN, community-based research, uses semi-structured interviews to gather quantitative, qualitative, and spatial data on subsistence activities in eight Indigenous communities bordering the Bering Sea, in the Russian Federation and the United States (Alaska). An innovative subsistence mapping technique, which utilizes the kernel density function in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a time series of data, is being used to display subsistence use locations at the equal interval scale. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the utility of this technique in research and the decision-making realm. An example is provided from Gambell, Alaska, in the Bering Strait region, where commercial vessel traffic is expected to increase.

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