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Terhi Vuojala-Magga and Minna Turunen

The Ivalo River and its flooding in the municipality of Inari in Finnish Lapland is the major discussion topic among the those living along the river in the town of Ivalo every spring before and during the break-up of the ice. The river has always flooded, but the local responses to floods have changed during the past century. Before the second half of the twentieth century, flooding was one of the important factors for wellbeing among the residents of the town of Ivalo, for it meant fertile flood land. After the big flood of 1981 embankments were built around the town, marking a new period of “tamed floods”. However, signs of climate change, together with a major flood in 2005, opened up a new debate on flooding with the realisation that embankments can fail. The debate on prevention is intensifying and today those living along the river face an era of multidimensional options and threats from climate change. By using the approach of development systems theory (DST) together with the concept of niche construction (NCT), we firstly define the concept of Arctic flood memory, which is based on the life-world and history of river people (Finnish, joki-ihmiset). Secondly, different options for flood prevention that have been taken up in contemporary discussions are evaluated and analysed in the context of the river’s history and dynamics. The context-situated knowledge enables us to construct a picture of new possibilities for flood prevention. We argue that the ideas on contemporary flood prevention can be seen as reflecting either an engineering approach of “solving the isolated problem of flooding”, which is separated from life on the river, or living with the natural cycle of the river as “a green river”.

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Seija Tuulentie, Gun Lidestav, Inkeri Markkula, Karl Brix Zinglersen, Marie Søndergaard and Minna Turunen

The question of sharing knowledge, particularly traditional or local knowledge, is a sensitive issue. This relates to the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, such as Sami and Inuit that is protected by international conventions, as well as that of local knowledge of good berry-picking or fishing sites which equally is not easily shared with outsiders. This chapter describes the concerns that were raised by the indigenous Sami people in Finland in relation to a public participatory GIS mapping inquiry in their domicile region along with the need to have free and prior informed consent (FPIC). This latter element of FPIC, based on the international convents of the indigenous peoples’ rights, became significant at a very early stage in the research. These concerns were compared to differently designed approaches in the indigenous contexts of Sweden and Greenland. The results indicate that it is extremely important to create an atmosphere of trust when doing research in the indigenous peoples’ regions, although dependence on the societal situation might be challenging.

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Ari Nikula, Minna Turunen, Ragnheiður Bogadóttir, Inkeri Markkula and Sini Kantola

Internet-based participatory mapping based on GIS (PPGIS) enables the collection of localised information from stakeholders regardless of their physical presence in a certain place at a certain time. This is at the core of this chapter, where the issues with building and implementing a transboundary PPGIS in the three Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden and Norway are explored, and where PPGIS is used in the context of land use planning to grow tourism in the Faroe Islands where tourism infrastructure often conflicts with local land ownership and traditional land use. Places important to people, places with conflicts and disturbances, stories and traditional knowledge of places are analysed and discussed. The usability and development needs of PPGIS, as extracted from the interviews conducted with public authorities and stakeholders, form an important forum for debate. The outcome is one that recognises that while authorities and stakeholders mostly saw PPGIS as a potential tool for building a shared knowledge base of localised information, the results call for special attention to traditional and cultural ways of perceiving and understanding the environment.

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Minna Turunen, Inkeri Markkula, Karl Brix Zinglersen, Hans Holt Poulsen, Per Sandström and Stefan Sandström

Based on interviews and practical experiences with land use planning officials and local residents, the challenges and best practices in incorporating indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) into land use planning were studied in Finland, Sweden and Greenland. Our research indicated that it is remarkable, that in Sweden and Greenland almost thirty years after the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), ILK remains difficult to define and in many ways is still an unknown concept to many people. Neglect of Sami reindeer herding rights and Sami traditional herding systems was a significant part of the Swedish and Finnish cases. A lack of true co-management of resources was reported from both Finland and Greenland. Improvements in legislation and international guidelines have, however, taken place, as for example in Swedish legislation and international guidelines on indigenous rights, planning legislation in Greenland, and the application of the Akwé: Kon Guidelines in Finland.