The Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society monitors and assesses changes in the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and adjacent Mackenzie Delta area in NWT, Yukon, and Alaska.
Our approach is to empower member communities to monitor, record, and share knowledge and stories about the ecological processes and wildlife status in the north. We are a registered Charity with activities in Alaska, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
During the fall of 1994 interested parties met in Dawson City to start an ecological monitoring program within the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. Participants identified the three main issues that should be the focus of ecological monitoring: climate change, contaminants, and regional development.
Participants also decided that an important part of the program should be to bring together science and local and traditional knowledge.
Communities and scientists committed to working on this together. The Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society (ABEKS) is the result of commitments and efforts since that meeting.
To document and assess changing environmental conditions in the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and adjacent coastal and marine ecosystems.
To share and use local-traditional and scientific knowledge for co-management.
Community researchers conduct interviews with local experts each year. Observations about fish, berries, caribou, unusual animal sightings, weather conditions, and other aspects of the environment and communities, are pulled together. Annual results, reports and interview questions are available.
Indicators are identified by participants and partners to track ecosystem change. Over 75 indicators have been identified to date and summaries of each are provided on the ABEKS website. They are updated periodically.
Promoting use and integration Inuvialuit and Gwich’in local ecological knowledge is the key outcome when management decision makers and other authorities identify innovative and meaningful strategies to deal with climate change, contaminants and regional development in a way that reflects local values.
ABEKS is a non-profit society and registered Charity. Engagement with participants occurs in the form of a gathering or series of community meetings to review the collected data together with communities, governments, and relevant experts at the end of each monitoring season.
ABEKS shares caribou and weather data from the survey with the Porcupine Caribou Management Board each year. PCMB is established to ensure co-management of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, an important food resource for all ABEKS communities.
There are many questions which the ABEKS data may be used to help answer. ABEKS communities have been busy building the monitoring program and will need to help determine the use of the data for it to reach its full potential. Researchers, governments and co-management authorities can benefit from this long term dataset.