Community adaptation and vulnerability in Arctic regions (FIN - CAVIAR)


The Arctic is experiencing rapid changes in environmental conditions and in many aspects of northern economies and societies. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) predicts unprecedented climate change for Arctic regions, and changes have already been documented by instrumental record and local and indigenous observations. The Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) demonstrates that Arctic peoples are susceptible to changing environmental conditions, and are already having to adapt.

Market at -40: adaptation to global warming?

Market at -40C: adaptation to global warming?
Photo: Anna Stammler- Gossman


The broad goal of CAVIAR is to enhance the theory, empirical understanding, and practical application of processes that shape vulnerability and adaptation in communities across the polar region by

1. further developing the theoretical concept of vulnerability  and refining and applying an integrative interdisciplinary research methodology for vulnerability studies;
2. identifying social and environmental factors and stresses and documenting the interactions which shape adaptive capacity and vulnerability;
3. improving understanding of interrelations between local vulnerability and decision-making related to adaptation, across multiple scales.

The goal of CAVIAR is more than data collection or monitoring of change; it involves, in collaboration with Arctic community partners, the assessment of vulnerabilities or risks, the documentation of the processes and forces that facilitate adaptation or management of risks, and the identification and evaluation of strategies to improve the capacity of communities to adapt to changing conditions

The program of research will be undertaken by an interdisciplinary international team, representing all the Arctic nations. The team will build upon existing research initiatives, operating independently in their local applications, but with common goals, concepts and methodologies. Team members, along with stakeholder representatives, partner agencies and organizations and local communities, will develop the CAVIAR research program.

FIN CAVIAR research group

Research professor, Monica Tennberg (Arctic Centre)
Researcher Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen (Unit for Gender Studies, University of Lapland)
Researcher Terhi Vuojala-Magga (Arctic Centre)
Researcher Anna Stammler-Gossmann (Arctic Centre)
Research assistant Tiina Heikkilä (Arctic Centre)
Research assistant Mari Ryömä (Arctic Centre)
Research assistant Maria Rakkolainen (Arctic Centre)

Conference presentations


  • March 5 -7, 2007. Brussels . European IPY opening conference, International Symposium: European research in the context of the International Polar Year / Stammler-Gossmann: Human dimension of climate change (poster presentation)
  • May 10 -11, 2007. London , Queen Mary College . Equity and mutual sharing – Indigenous tradition in contemporary world / Stammler-Gossmann: What does it mean to be indigenous in Russia ?
  • May 22 -24, 2007 Rovaniemi, Nature and tourism: Tools for sustainability. / Stammler-Gossmann: How many Santa Clauses? Concept of tourism in Russia
  • May 31 – June 1, Oslo . Nordic Council of Ministers. Collaboration on Climate Change and its Consequences in the Arctic .   / Stammler-Gossmann: Climate and man
  • October 9 -10, 2007. Oslo CICERO, CAVIAR meeting / Stammler-Gossmann: FIN- CAVIAR: Arctic adaptations, agencies and capacities
  • November 9, 2007. Kirovsk. Workshop Nature tourism development, experience and results of research in Finland and USA / Stammler-Gossmann: Introduction to CAVIAR research
  • April 16-18, 2007. Rovaniemi, Knowledge and power in the Arctic conference / Stammler-Gossmann: Imagined North
  • April 16-18, 2007. Knowledge and Power in the Arctic conference, Rovaniemi. / Vuojala-Magga: The story of the Arctic : Encounters and Emotions
  • October 9-10, 2007. Oslo . CICERO, CAVIAR meeting / Vuojala-Magga: The concepts of adaptation and vulnerability
  • November 29, 2007 Oulu, Thule Institute, Tourism and global change in polar regions / Stammler-Gossmann: Changing North of Russia
  • December 3, 2007. Rovaniemi.   Arctic & Antarctic seminar / Vuojala-Magga: Field work methods in the study of reindeer herding and climate change
  • December 3, 2007. Rovaniemi. Arctic & Antarctic seminar / Stammler-Gossmann: North as space and place
  • December 10 - 11, 2007. Rovaniemi. Symposium Social and environmental impacts of oil and gas development / Stammler-Gossmann, chair of workshop and rapporteur


  • June 15, 2008. Naryan Mar, Russia . Indigenoius Association ‘Yasavey’ / Stammler-Gossmann: CAVIAR research in Nelmin Nos
  • August 21.-26, 2008 International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences - ICASS VI, Nuuk, Greenland . The Ethnography of Northern Exceptionalism, chairs: Pamela Stern and Joslyn Cassady.  / Sinevaara-Niskanen; The political agency of Arctic indigenous women – questions of substantive and descriptive representation. Is the North Special?
  • October 8.-10, 2008. Human Dimensions in the Circumpolar Arctic . Gender dimensions, chair: Lisbeth Lewander, Umeå , Sweden . / Sinevaara-Niskanen: The social of Sustainable Development: Feminist readings from the Arctic .
  • August 22 – 26, 2008.   Nuuk (Greenland ). ICASS VI / Stammler-Gossmann: Dynamic landscape: a community’s and its ‘agenda’ for change
  • September 24 -27, 2008. The Fifth Northern Research Forum (NRF): The Northern Community in the 21st Century: Seeking Balance in a Changing North. / Stammler-Gossmann: Reshaping the North
  • October 30, 2008. Kirkenes, Finnmark municipality / Stammler-Gossmann: Introduction to the CAVIAR project
  • November 7, 2008. PEIR workshop, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi, Finland. / Tennberg: Ympäristökysymykset tutkimusongelmana: mitä Foucault ja Dewey sanoisivat aiheesta?
  • August 22-26, 2008. Nuuk (Greenland ). ICASS VI / Vuojala-Magga: The case studies of Ivalo river and Kuttura siida reindeer herding in the context of adaptation and vulnerability.
  • September 2008.   September,  Oulu University , Mattut Maddagat: Archaeology, anthropology and Sámis past and present. / Vuojala-Magga: Sáme knife and its use, just simple things but complicated skills.
  • December 2008. University of Aberdeen : Presentation at the Department of Social Anthropology / Vuojala-Magga: Simple things and complicated skills


  • November 25-26, 2009. CAVIAR - community vulnerability and adaptation in Arctic regions workshop. Arctic centre, Rovaniemi , Finland . / Sinevaara-Niskanen & Tennberg (2009): Agency in Climate Change Adaptation.
  • June 17-24, 2009. Uolba, Ytyk Kuel (Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)I, stakeholders meeting / Stammler-Gossman: Climate change and flooding experiences
  • July 9-10, 2009. Slavic Research Institute, Sapporo . International symposium: The elusive balance: Regional powers and the search for sustainable development / Stammler-Gossmann: Introduction: Climate change research at the Arctic Centre (Finland )
  • July 11, 2009. Sapporo , Hokkaido University , Japan , Ainu Centre meeting / Stammler-Gossmann: Introduction to CAVIAR: Indigenous communities of the Russian North and climate
  • August 31- September, Vadso (Norway ), 2009. BEAC WGE (The Barents Euro Arctic Council’s Working Group on Environment. Climate change in the Barents region / Stammler-Gossmann: Local relevance of climate change in the Barents region of Russia
  • September 23 – 25, 2009. Tromso, Tromso University , Norway . Contested identities and borders (session: Performing nature) / Stammler-Gossmann: Translating vulnerability at the community level in the Russian North.
  • October 30, 2009. University of Oulu , Finnish Academy , Climate change projects / Stammler-Gossmann: FIN-CAVIAR - Climate change and community (round table presentation)
  • November 12, 2009. METLA Seminar Rovaniemi , Finland . Social sustainability, nature-based economies and local communities in mining projects. / Stammler-Gossman: Sustainable development and community of Nelmin Nos (round table presentation)
  • November 16-17, 2009. Joint Japanese-Finnish seminar on Northern environmental research (Sustainability week) Conference: Change in the North. Hokkaido university, Sapporo , Japan . / Stammler-Gossmann: Climate change and culture
  • November 18, 2009. Hokkaido Uiversity, Sapporo , Japan , Ainu Centre meeting / Stammler-Gossmann: Introduction to CAVIAR project: CAVIAR activities at the Arctic Centre
  • November 25-26, 2009. CAVIAR workshop, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi , Finland / Stammler-Gossmann: Translating vulnerability at the community level: Russian case studies
  • November 26, 2009. CAVIAR workshop, Arctic centre, Rovaniemim Finland . / Stammler-Gossmann:  Fin-CAVIAR: Community’s agenda for change
  • December 15, 2009. Finnish-Japanese cooperation meeting, Arctic Centre, Finland and Ainu Centre, Hokkaido / Stammler-Gossmann: Introduction: Community research in the Russian North
  • May 5, 2009. PEIR workshop, Tampere University, Department of regional studies. / Tennberg: Ympäristöpoliittisen toimijuuden monet muodot: mitä Foucaultlla ja Deweylla olisi asiasta sanottavaa?
  • August 27, 2009. Visit by Indian delegation to Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi , Finland . / Tennberg: FIN-CAVIAR presentation.
  • November 25-26, 2009. CAVIAR workshop, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi , Finland / Tennberg: Introduction to FIN-CAVIAR. / Tennberg: Adaptive communities – not one, but many?
  • November 2009. Koutakeino , Norway : From traditionalism to Modernity: Everyday Practice as a ways of knowing and doing. / Vuojala-Magga: People remember as they go along.
  • November 25-26, 2009. CAVIAR workshop, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi , Finland / Vuojala-Magga: There have always been floods; what it the difference now? / Vuojala-Magga: The resonance strategies among reindeer herders in the context of climate change


  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2007). Reshaping the North of Russia: towards a conception of space. Arctic & Antarctic International Journal of Circumpolar Sociocultural Issues 1: 53-97.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2007) ”Северные измерения" России: концепция пространства. Pегиональное сообщество в период социальных трансформаций: Кольский Север, начало XXIвека. Апатиты: Изд. Кольского научного центра РАН, С. 5-30.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2008) Enets. In Modern Encyclopedia. Russian, Soviet & Eurasian History (SMERSH), 9. Gulf Breeze: Academic International Press: 164-167.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2009) Who is indigenous? Construction of ‘indigenousness’ in Russian legislation. International Community Law Review 11(1):69-102.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2009) Negotiating the indigenous status in the Russian Federation . Arctic & Antarctic International Journal of Circumpolar Socio-cultural Issues 3: 7-51
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2010) Political animals of Sakha Yakutia. In Stammler, F. & Takakura, H. (eds.). ‘Good to eat’, ‘good to live with’: Social significance of animals in nomadic pastoral societies of the Arctic, Africa & Central Asia . Sendai : Northeast Asian Studies Series: 153-175.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2010 submitted) ‘Translating’ vulnerability at the community level in the Russian North (Case study: Nelmin Nos, Nenets Autonomous Okrug). In Hovelsrud, G.K. & Smit, B. (eds.) Community adaptation and vulnerability in the Arctic region. Springer.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2010 forthcoming) Dynamic landscape: A community and its ‘agenda’ for change. Tennberg, M. et al., Governing the Uncertain: Climate Change Adaptation in Russia and Finland.
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2010 forthcoming). Climate change and community of Nelmin Nos, North West Russia (in Russian). Report to the community. Rovaniemi: Arctic Centre
  • Stammler-Gossmann, A. (2010 forthcoming). Negotiating changes in Nelmin Nos. Naryana Vynder, Naryan Mar (Nenets Autonomous District , Russia )
  • Stuvøy, K. & Sinevaara-Niskanen, H. (2009) Agencies of Human Security in the North. Journal of Human Security 5(1):32-48.
  • Tennberg M., Vuojala-Magga, T., Turunen (2010) Ivalo River and its people: There have always been floods - what is the difference now? In. Hovelsrud, G.K. & Smit, B. (eds.), Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in the Arctic Regions. Springer
  • Vuojala-Magga, T. (2009) Simple things but complicated skills. Sami skills and tacit knowledege in the context of climatic change. In T. Äikäs (ed.), Mattut Maddagat. The Roots of Saami Ethnicities, Societies and Spacies/Places. Sastamala:Vammalan Kirjapaino Oy
  • Vuojala-Magga, T.( 2010) Knowing, training, learning: the importance of reindeer character and temperament for individuals and communities of humans and animals. In F. Stammler & H. Takakura (eds.) Good to Eat, Good to Live with: Social significance of animals in nomadic pastoral societies of the Arctic, Africa & Central Asia . Northeast Asian Studies Series. Sendai : Centre for Northeast Asian Studies.
  • Vuojala-Magga, T., Turunen, M., Tennberg M.(forthcoming): Resonance strategies of  Sami reindeer herding  during  climatically exceptional years  in Northernmost Finland  in  1970-2008. (submitted to a journal with a referee practice in January 2010)
  • Vuojala-Magga, T. (forthcoming) The only thing you can rely on is your own action”  - Sámi world of reindeer, work and income. In Monica Tennberg et al., Governing the Uncertain: Climate Change Adaptation in Russia and Finland.

Research consortium

  • Barry Smit  (Canada), Co-Director
  • Grete K. Hovelsrud  (Norway), Co-Director
  • Robert W. Corell (USA)
  • Carina Keskitalo (Sweden)
  • Gary Kofinas (USA)
  • Niels Einarsson (Iceland)
  • Yvon Csonka (Greenland)
  • Elena Alexandrova (the Russian Federation)
  • Natalia Fedorova (the Russian Federation)
  • Bruce Forbes  (Finland)
  • Mary-Beth Long Martello (USA)
  • Henry Huntington (USA)
  • Svein Mathiesen (Norway)
  • Mark Nuttall (Canada)


More Information

  • Research Professor Monica Tennberg
    Arctic Centre, University of Lapland