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Svalbard Case Study

Svalbard Case Study

This ice coverage and cold environment mean that only about 6-7% of Svalbard is covered by any type of vegetation, which experiences a very short growing season, very low temperatures, a lack of precipitation, and barren ground soil. That said, there is a significant variety of small plants, with some 160 plant species, 600 lichens, and 380 mosses identified in Svalbard. The cold environment of Svalbard is perfect for its fauna, such as the Svalbard reindeer and Arctic fox, both Svalbard’s only native land mammals, which thrive in Svalbard’s remote tundra. There are also polar bears which you may encounter all year round.

The cold climate means trees cannot grow in Svalbard, and there is also no arable farming. Yet the inhabitants have adapted to living in such harsh conditions, giving rise to several development opportunities.

Fishing

Svalbard is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean, the Greenland Sea, and the Barents Sea, the latter being the perfect spot for fishing. The Barents Sea is home to over 150 species of fish, such as herring and haddock, not to mention it has the most extensive stocks of cod in the whole world! All that fish has the potential to be a significant economic benefit– think of all the fish that can be traded to other countries.

Tourism


References

  1. Fig. 1: Location of Svalbard (dark green) in relation to Norway (light green). (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Norway-Svalbard.svg) by Rob984 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Rob984) licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en).
  2. Fig. 2: Sign on Svalbard warning for polar bears. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Polar_bear_sign_Svalbard.jpg) by Spork (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Sprok) licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en).
  3. Fig. 3: Tourists visiting a glacier. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tourists_admiring_Glacier_Park._2004.jpg) by John Hill (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:John_Hill) licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en).
  4. Fi. 4: Map showing Svalbard's protected areas. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Svalbard_protected_areas_map_with_names.svg) by Arsenikk (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Arsenikk) licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en).
  5. Fig. 5: Svalbard Global Seed vault entrance. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Svalbard_protected_areas_map_with_names.svg) by Dag Terje Filip Endresen (https://web.archive.org/web/20161104151908/http://www.panoramio.com/user/485039) licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en).

Frequently Asked Questions about Svalbard Case Study

The challenges of development in Svalbard are extreme temperatures, inaccessibility, and construction and infrastructure.

The opportunities in Svalbard include fishing, tourism, energy, and mineral extraction. 

Svalbard is at risk from human activity due to its high coal use which contribute to global warming and therefore, climate change.

Svalbard is important because of the scientific research opportunity it provides, its wilderness, environment, flora, and fauna and because the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located there.

Svalbard reduces its environmental damage by creating national parks and nature reserves, as well as shifting to solar power (a renewable energy). 

Final Svalbard Case Study Quiz

Question

True or false? Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago?

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Answer

True.

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Question

What is the range of Svalbard's winter temperature?

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Answer

-13 to -20 degrees Celsius.

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Question

What are the main opportunities in development for Svalbard?

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Answer

Fishing, tourism, energy, and mineral extraction.

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Question

How does tourism help with Svalbard's development? 

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Answer

It provides jobs for locals and brings money in.

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Question

Why does the minimal mineral extraction occur in Svalbard?

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Answer

Extreme temperature.

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Question

True or false? The Barents Sea, that can be found off the coast of Svalbard, has the second most extensive cod stock in the world.

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Answer

False. 

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Question

What are the main challenges to development that Svalbard face?

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Answer

Extreme temperature, inaccessibility, and construction and infrastructure.

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Question

Why are houses at risk of sinking in Svalbard?

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Answer

Thawing permafrost.

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Question

Fill in the blanks: ____ _____ mean that it is hard to grow food in Svalbard.

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Answer

Extreme temperatures.

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Question

TRUE or FALSE: Svalbard's warming climate means that the risk of avalanches is less.

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Answer

False. 

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Question

What is a method used in Svalbard to prevent thawing or ice and snow?

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Answer

Painting runways white to reflect sunlight and reduce heat.

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Question

What methods of transport do they rely on in Svalbard?

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Answer

Planes and boats.

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Question

What was drafted in 2002 to protect the environment, flora, and fauna?

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Answer

Svalbard Environment Protection Act 2002. 

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Question

What is the Svalbard Seed Vault?

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Answer

A vault that stores up to 4.5 million seed samples from all around the world as a back-up to provide food security.

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