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The Role of Trust in Sustainable Management of Land, Fish, and Wildlife Populations in the Arctic
Jennifer I. Schmidt 1 , Douglas Clark 2 , Nils Lokken, 2 Jessica Lankshear 2 , Vera Hausner 3
1  Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
2  School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5C8, Canada
3  The Arctic Sustainability Lab, Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, UIT-The Arctic University of Norway, The Arctic University of Norway, Framstredet 39, Biologibygget, N-9019 Tromsø, Norway

Published: 01 September 2018 by MDPI in Sustainability
MDPI, Volume 10; 10.3390/su10093124
Abstract: Sustainable resource management depends on support from the public and local stakeholders. Fish, wildlife, and land management in remote areas face the challenge of working across vast areas, often with limited resources, to monitor land use or the status of the fish-and-wildlife populations. Resource managers depend on local residents, often Indigenous, to gain information about environmental changes and harvest trends. Developing mutual trust is thus important for the transfer of knowledge and sustainable use of land resources. We interviewed residents of eight communities in Arctic Alaska and Canada and analyzed their trust in resource governance organizations using mixed-methods. Trust was much greater among Alaska (72%) and Nunavut (62%) residents than Churchill (23%). Trust was highest for organizations that dealt with fish and wildlife issues, had no legal enforcement rights, and were associated with Indigenous peoples. Local organizations were trusted more than non-local in Alaska and Nunavut, but the opposite was true in Churchill. Association tests and modeling indicated that characteristics of organizations were significantly related to trust, whereas education was among the few individual-level characteristics that mattered for trust. Familiarity, communication, and education are crucial to improve, maintain, or foster trust for more effective management of natural resources in such remote communities.
Keywords: sustainability, climate, Arctic, knowledge, management, Natural resources, Trust, governance, wildlife, land, indigenous
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