Arctic Sustainability: A Synthesis of Knowledge (ASUS) is an international collaborative project that unites a team of diverse expertise from Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US to develop a framework that highlights the state of current understanding, best practices, and metrics for achieving sustainability in the Arctic. NSF provides support to the US team members of the ASUS consortium. The effort takes into account not only the social, demographic, economic, and environmental aspects of resilience in creating this framework, but looks at these across a range of scales using an inclusive process that engages a breadth of Arctic stakeholders. The team leverages existing investments in Arctic sustainability, observing, and development to inform the eight work packages (1: Sustainable Arctic Regions and Communities, 2: Sustainable Arctic Environments, 3: Sustainable Arctic Cultures, 4: Sustainable Arctic Economies, 5: Sustainable Arctic Cities, 6: Sustainable Resources, 7: Monitoring of Sustainability, 8: Governance for Sustainability). The team will gather and communicate progress through the vast networks of international Arctic scientific associations. The synthesis products from this project will be disseminated through workshops and through educational and web-based materials. Key Arctic stakeholder, such as the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council, will be considered when constructing products and materials. The team will conduct this synthesis through a managed constellation of centers and a committee structure to ensure continued communication and coordination of this complex, multi-national effort.

Dimensions of Arctic Sustainability

ASUS team conducts a synthesis about sustainability for the Arctic and disseminates knowledge and ideas about trajectories of sustainability in the Arctic. We include multiple conceptualizations and ideas about sustainability for the Arctic and related regions, ecological systems, economies and cultures. ASUS’ knowledge structure centers on three pillars of sustainability—environment, society, and economy—represented by seven knowledge domains (see Fig.). We identified eight crosscutting themes from patterns and trends of sustainability concerns in the Arctic: natural resource development and management, climate change, biogeophysical transformations, human wellbeing, education and health, gender and socio-environmental justice, and Indigenous communities and globalization. Our synthesis will rely on monitoring data and information associated with trends and drivers of change that manifest themselves within dynamic, coupled human-environmental Arctic systems.



Project Leadership:


Andrey Petrov (USA lead & lead PI): Associate Professor and Director, ARCTICenter, Department of Geography, University of Northern Iowa

Aileen Espiritu (Norway lead): Senior Scientist, The Barents Institute, The Arctic University of Norway

Klaus Georg Hansen (Greenland/Denmark lead): The Government of Greenland

Joan Nymand Larsen (Iceland lead): Senior Scientist, Stefansson Arctic Institute, University of Akureyri

Rasmus Ole Rasmussen (Sweden lead): Senior Scientist, Nordregio, Stockholm

Chris Southcott (Canada lead): Professor, Lakehead University

Tatiana Vlasova (Russia lead): Senior Scientist, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences


Arctic Sustainability Research Library