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Published: 31 Jan, 2020

Research meeting - Wild, Beautiful and famous Biosphere Area

NEWS Just over a dozen researchers participated in a second preparatory research meeting aimed at encouraging research regarding one of the world's largest biosphere reserves, which is located in northern Sweden.

Text: Anngelica Kristoferqvist

Last Friday, in a conference room at Umeå University, the Biosphere Reserve Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka and the Arctic Research Center at Umeå University (Arcum) gathered researchers from diverse disciplines to discuss how research into the biosphere reserve can be promoted.

Arcum's deputy director Niklas Eklund, talked about Arcum as ‘A small organization with big reach’ and how its general remit to support Arctic research might be supportive of research on the Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka biosphere reserve.

Elin Bergarp, coordinator for the Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka Biosphere Reserve, spoke about biosphere reserves generally and about Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka in particular. She explained what requirements an area must fulfill in order to qualify as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and what research opportunities such a reserve it offers. She also talked about local challenges; long distances, urbanization, competition for natural resources and climate change. Elin specifically talked about the development strategy that the Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka Biosphere Reserve is working on and showed a draft for an emergent research strategy. This concerns how the Biosphere Reserve might function as a living laboratory and as an arena for learning. The strategy envisions how the reserve could be instrumental to strengthening links between research and policy; an area for testing and evaluating new ways of working, for new knowledge and as an arena for dialogue and collaboration on current issues.

Professor Emeritus Christer Nilsson, who by strength of his research background represents both SLU and UMU, highlighted the current golden opportunities for initiating research into the Biosphere Reserve. Support for such initiatives seem evident on all levels; from residents in the area to the Swedish authorities and international organizations. He also talked about results from a previous research meeting and about the need to invent and develop local solutions to global problems.