Few regions in the Northern hemisphere have received as much attention from permafrost scientists as central Yakutia. The reasons for this are obvious: permafrost extends to greater depths than elsewhere and the Yakutian lowlands are characterized by ice- and organic-rich Yedoma deposits. Furthermore, the specific conditions of permafrost degradation have created a landscape that provides local conditions suitable for cattle and horse breeding in an area that is generally too harsh for animal husbandry, except for reindeer herding. It is exactly this type of livelihood – cattle and horse breeding – that came to be the basis for Sakha (Yakut) pastoralists who immigrated into this region from more southerly areas several centuries ago. In short, Yakuts have learned to use this thermokarst landscape and the alas basins which are so characteristic of it, to make a living. This is a unique phenomenon in its own right, yet it also pertains to the more general question of indigenous peoples’ livelihoods in permafrost areas.



Ulrich, M. and J. O. Habeck






Frozen Ground



Ulrich, M. and J. O. Habeck (2015): Integrating environmental, geo-, and social sciences to assess permafrost dynamics and indigenous land use. In: Frozen Ground 39, p. 3 - 4.



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IASC Related Activity

Permafrost and Culture (2014) and Permafrost Dynamics and Indigenous Land Use (2015)
For more information check IASC 2014 and 2015 Bulletins



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