Unprecedented global changes caused by human actions challenge society's ability to sustain the desirable features of our planet. This requires proactive management of change to foster both resilience (sustaining those attributes that are important to society in the face of change) and adaptation (developing new socioecological configurations that function effectively under new conditions). The Arctic may be one of the last remaining opportunities to plan for change in a spatially extensive region where many of the ancestral ecological and social processes and feedbacks are still intact. If the feasibility of this strategy can be demonstrated in the Arctic, our improved understanding of the dynamics of change can be applied to regions with greater human modification. Conditions may now be ideal to implement policies to manage Arctic change because recent studies provide the essential scientific understanding, appropriate international institutions are in place, and Arctic nations have the wealth to institute necessary changes, if they choose to do so.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4