Understanding subarctic wildlife in Eastern James Bay under changing climatic and socio-environmental conditions: Bringing together Cree hunters’ ecological knowledge and scientific observations

Thora Martina Herrmann, Marie-Jeanne Royer, Rick Cuciurean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

The Canadian Subarctic is undergoing climatic and environmental changes which are leading to wide-ranging implications for wildlife, ecosystems and aboriginal communities. Through their long-term experience and observations, Cree hunters of the Eastern James Bay are aware of the local manifestations of changes to animal ecology. This article presents and analyses Cree observations of the effects of altering climatic and environmental conditions on animals and their habitat. Cree Trappers Association (CTA) members are witnessing the appearance of pioneer species, changes in animal population trends, migration patterns and distribution, animal behavior, health and habitat which in turn has impacted Cree traditional subsistence activities. Their observations have the potential to fill gaps in wildlife research for subarctic Canada and could serve to influence culturally appropriate environmental change adaptation strategies. The climate change application in the GeoPortal of Eeyou Istchee – a community-based geospatial information tool developed by the CTA to record climate observations and changes in ecosystem is presented in this article denoting the engagement of the Cree in subarctic research. This article contrasts Cree hunters' observation with scientific knowledge and identifies challenges and areas of convergence between scientific and indigenous expertise for investigating animal ecology under a changing climate in the Subarctic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-270
Number of pages26
JournalPolar Geography
Volume35
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2012

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