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Traditional practices, infrastructure and development

Year: 2006 Author: Hugo Ahlenius, Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Indigneous peoples have lived in Arctic for thousands of years, and continue to depend upon the natural resources of the region today. Their traditional subsistence practices include hunting, trapping, fishing and reindeer herding. All of which are conducted in a sustainable manner; that is, in a way that does not lead to long-term or large-scale degredation of the environment. However, the balance they have achieved with the environment through their traditional practices is being disrupted by new development. New pipelines, roads, holiday-cabin settlements, and expanded military training areas are examples of spreading infrastructure that compress the ranges available for reindeer herding. Clear felling of forests (a particular problem in parts of northern Russia) depletes a renewable resource of fuel, and a place to harvest supplementary foods like berries and mushrooms. Substandard installations for the oil & gas industry, and polluting mineral processing facilities threaten large-scale devestation of the environment.
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