AQUABIO project

Aquatic Biomonitoring Programme of the George River: measuring water quality and the temporal dynamics of environmental change using spatial remote sensing  

Project co-led by Jan Franssen (Université de Montréal) in 2018 and José Gérin-Lajoie (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières) in 2016–2017 in Québec and Jean-Pierre Dedieu (CNRS/IGE Grenoble) in France.

The watershed of the George River (in the Nunavik region of Québec) offers a unique opportunity for a multidisciplinary project investigating human-environment interactions. The George River aquatic biomonitoring programme (AQUABIO) was launched in 2016 following a request from the Kangiqsualujjuaq community in Nunavik. The first part of the project involved setting up three science camps: in 2016, 2017 and 2018. From 2018, AQUABIO was integrated in the wider IMALIRIJIIT project (see below). Strictly concerning the AQUABIO research project, the analyses involved several partner laboratories: Université de Montréal (biology, geography, chemistry), Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and the Institute of Geoscience and the Environment (IGE) in Grenoble, associated with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The results from previous years are available in the annual project activity reports and documents in the links below. The current AQUABIO project has two stages. The first consists of completing the in-situ campaigns on river hydrology by taking measurements from buoys left in place over the summer months and coupling these with the analysis of optical satellite images (Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2). The second is to apply a multitemporal remote sensing study (Landsat-5 and 8) that covers the changes in vegetation over the entire watershed over a period of 30 years (1985–2015). The final stage focused on produce detailed vegetation mapping in order to qualify and quantify the zones of vegetation densification over the determined period. Field measurements carried out in the summer of 2018 will supplement the remote sensing analysis. This ecological study is fundamental to better understand the impact of climate change in the Arctic (‘Arctic greening’) and the consequences that these vegetation changes have on local populations (e.g. in terms of natural food resources).

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ECOSANTE project (dogs and Inuit health)

Action research on Inuit health and well-being at the Inuit–dog–environment interface

Project co-led by André Ravel and Suzanne Bastian

Dogs are an integral part of the physical, social and cultural environment of the Inuit, representing a source of well-being, but also a potential health threat for the inhabitants of the Arctic communities of Québec.

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GEOTHERMIE project (Geothermal energy)

Assessment of the potential of geothermal resources and technologies for the community of Kuujjuaq

Project co-led by Jasmin Raymond, Chrystel Dezayes, and Mikael Philippe

The objective of this project is to study the potential of three types of geothermal energy systems for the community of Kuujjuaq: underground thermal energy storage (UTES), ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and deep well geothermal systems.

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MINES project

Les communautés arctiques doivent faire face à des changements sociaux et économiques sans précédent liés à l’industrialisation et aux perturbations climatiques. Le développement minier leur pose de nombreux défis. Elles y voient un véritable potentiel économique mais aussi des risques pour leurs modes de vie, basés aujourd’hui sur une économie mixte, entre économie salariale et activités de subsistance. Les communautés sont amenées à négocier des projets d’exploitation minière avec les compagnies industrielles et dans un même temps à mettre en place des espaces de patrimonialisation sous la forme de parc nationaux. Le développement minier représente des avantages sur le plan économique car les compagnies offrent des emplois aux jeunes générations avec des salaires relativement élevés (Bernauer, 2012) mais il génère aussi une mutation brutale de tout un système de valeurs et de savoirs traditionnels défendus par les Aînés comme une forme de résistance au modèle occidental. Les enjeux sont multiples et très complexes car ils font appel à l’intégration des aspects sociaux, économiques, environnementaux et d’un modèle culturel fragile. Il s’agit aussi pour ces communautés de redéfinir et de réaffirmer leur identité (Tester, 2011). Le Nunavik et le Nunavut sont en plein boom d’exploration et d’exploitation pour lesquelles un développement durable est souhaité tant par les gouvernements que par les populations locales (Plan Nunavik, 2013 ; Parnasimautik, 2014; Lemerre, 2015)

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MOVE project (Landslides)

Assessing the risks and hazards of mass earth movements in Nunavik

Project co-led by Armelle Decaulne and Najat Bhiry

Several villages and national parks in Nunavik (in northern Québec, Canada) are located near high hills whose slopes are subject to frequent gravitational movements. The objective of this project is to model and document these in order to identify their dynamics and the risks for the growing local population and the increasing number of visitors to the parks.I

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NIQILIRINIQ project (Food Systems)

NIQILIRINIQ project (Food Systems): Investigating relationships between food, the environment, and health in Nunavik to explore potential solutions for future food sovereignty and security

Project co-led by Thora Herrmann et Véronique Coxam

In the Arctic, a dramatic transformation in lifestyles has led to its inhabitants losing a considerable degree of the control they exert over their food supply, alongside a lack of access to knowledge about new foods that have been introduced in their nutritional landscape. In Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsujuaq, the NIQILIRINIQ project (which means ‘taking care of food’ in Inuktitut) is exploring the perceptions the people of Nunavik have about their current food system: its flaws as well as possible solutions they can identify to improve access to food that is satisfying in terms of their health and their well-being. While Arctic cultivation is considered an innovative potential approach, how much can the development of local food production really contribute to food sovereignty in Nunavik? What future scenarios could be envisaged for this type of production and its role in a holistic food strategy?

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NUNA project (contemporary modes of relating to territory

How Nunavimmiut youth perceive their territory: using film to document landscape sensitivity

Project co-led by Laine Chanteloup, Fabienne Joliet and Thora Herrmann.

Sedentarisation and lifestyle changes have profoundly transformed the Inuit’s relationship to the land. While today, different generations coexist in the shared space of the village, their relationship to the territory, their concept and cognitive structure of what this territory represents, and thus their personal and cultural construction related to it, strongly differ between elders and youth.

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SEQINEQ project (energy)

SEQINEQ' : Reducing fossil fuel dependence in Nunavik’s Inuit communities

Project co-led by Didier Haillot and Daniel Rousse

Living in an isolated region inaccessible by overland routes, the Inuit of Canada’s northern territory has been facing major adaptation challenges over recent decades, particularly in terms of energy supply. These off-grid communities are extremely dependent on petroleum products for heat (by burning furnace oil) and electricity (by using diesel generators). The installation of renewable energy technology offers an alternative for producing ‘clean’ energy and thus reducing the need for fossil fuels. Since 2016, the SEQINEQ project team has been exploring methods of storing heat in greenhouses in Kuujjuaq with the aim of limiting the impact of extreme temperature differences on cultivated plants during their growth period.

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