Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 319

319 Arctic Yearbook 2014   It is closely connected with the quality of social capital, the level of trust and communication channels within particular social contexts or the existence of networks. In sparsely populated areas characterised by long distances but also long-range environmental and social impacts, this is a particularly crucial impediment. Taking social aspects better into account in impact assessments and land use planning could have positive effects on socio-natural capital by increasing knowledge about impacts and relationships between diverse actors. Firstly, environmental and social impact assessments should be done in transparent ways, because poor transparency will limit trust and create prejudices toward the company. Secondly, taking the social dimension into account early in the planning phase via interacting with local people creates space where networks and positive relationships can be built. Thirdly, impact assessments can be considered to nurture reciprocity, because they outline both negative and positive impacts. Conclusion The notion of socio-natural capital is well suited to examine and explore the sustainability of land use. When socio-natural capital increases among land use actors, the possibilities to achieve sustainability improve and come closer to achieving social consensus on what sustainability constitutes in the specific context. When talking about socio-natural capital, it is not enough to consider only capital within local populations, but also between local people and external land use actors. This is particularly important for reducing colonial practices of extracting northern resources for external benefits. On the other hand, external actors can possibly nurture socio-natural capital. For example, the EU can enhance policy and governance instruments (both its own and those applied in the member states) that necessitate participation of Arctic people to decision-making, with a confidence that their views are taken into account, or by increasing demands for social impact assessments of land use in the planning phases. Nation states can encourage collaboration, but also institutionalize and formally recognize rights of Arctic indigenous people. The institutional ability to enhance socio-natural capital is also particularly strong in the case of institutionally requested interaction processes between various groups. For example, formal requirements for participatory planning and interaction or semiformal social licensing mechanisms are fruitful places where relationships among groups can be built. On the other hand, socio-cultural capital can be built by individual people and various groups. For scientists, studies on how natural capital turns into human benefits are essential. Scientists’ socionatural capital can also be enhanced in transdisciplinary and participatory efforts where various disciplines and stakeholders interact to produce holistic knowledge on social-ecological interactions and land use (Sarkki et al. 2013b). Policy makers’ understanding of various perspectives on sustainability of land use can be enhanced by increasing participatory processes, enabling multidirectional knowledge flows between stakeholders and policy makers, interaction between policy and governance structures from various institutional levels, and by enhancing science-policy interface. Local stakeholders’ socio-natural capital can be enhanced by supporting local institutions promoting sustainable use of natural resources, by promoting self-organization capacity with external support Sarkki, Latola, Jokinen & Stepien