How is permafrost degradation affecting ecosystem services?

Published: 2017
Product type: Science Brief
Categories: Permafrost

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Degrading permafrost is making life in Arctic communities more challenging because fishing and hunting, access to drinking water, and travel via trails and rivers (i.e., ecosystem services) are becoming less reliable or predictable.

Why it matters

Many people in the Arctic depend on 7ish and wildlife for food. Animal habitat is expected to change, in part as a result of permafrost degradation, meaning that traditional harvesting locations may not remain the same. Permafrost degradation can also disrupt sources of drinking water. Permafrost degradation also diverts trails and disrupts river travel, altering access to recreational and harvest opportunities. Permafrost plays a key role in Arctic ecosystem services, and informed decisions are necessary because management and adaptation solutions can be costly.