Land use and climate change impacts on Navajo Nation

Aug. 31, 2017


Photo courtesy of Institute of the Environment

A new video discusses ecosystem changes on the Navajo Nation that have resulted from land use stresses and climate change. Sparse historic data on tribal lands make the assessment of damage to ecosystem services difficult. However, collaborative studies using conventional physical sciences combined with 105 tribal elder observations show that local knowledge and conventional science partnerships can effectively document ecosystem change and the resulting challenges to livelihoods. Increasing aridity and declining snowfall in this poorly monitored region are accompanied by declining river flow and migrating sand dunes. Elder observations verify and supplement this record of change by informing how shifting weather patterns are reflected in Navajo cultural practices and living conditions. Watch the video here.