Northern Eurasia Future Initiative (NEFI): facing the challenges and pathways of global change in the twenty-first century

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


  • Pavel Groisman
  • Herman Shugart
  • David Kicklighter
  • Geoffrey Henebry
  • Nadezhda Tchebakova
  • Shamil Maksyutov
  • Erwan Monier
  • Garik Gutman
  • Sergey Gulev
  • Jiaguo Qi
  • Elena Kukavskaya
  • Boris Porfiriev
  • Alexander Shiklomanov
  • Tatiana Loboda
  • Nikolay Shiklomanov
  • Son Nghiem
  • Kathleen Bergen
  • Jana Albrechtova
  • Jiquan Chen
  • Maria Shahgedanova
  • Anatoly Shvidenko
  • Nina Speranskaya
  • Amber Soja
  • Kirsten de Beurs
  • Olga Bulygina
  • Jessica McCarty
  • Qianlai Zhuang
  • Olga Zolina
During the past several decades, the Earth system has changed significantly, especially across Northern
Eurasia. Changes in the socio-economic conditions of the larger countries in the region have also resulted in
a variety of regional environmental changes that can have global consequences. The Northern Eurasia Future
Initiative (NEFI) has been designed as an essential continuation of the Northern Eurasia Earth Science
Partnership Initiative (NEESPI), which was launched in 2004. NEESPI sought to elucidate all aspects of ongoing
environmental change, to inform societies and, thus, to better prepare societies for future developments. A
key principle of NEFI is that these developments must now be secured through science-based strategies codesigned
with regional decision-makers to lead their societies to prosperity in the face of environmental and
institutional challenges. NEESPI scientific research, data, and models have created a solid knowledge base to
support the NEFI program. This paper presents the NEFI research vision consensus based on that knowledge.
It provides the reader with samples of recent accomplishments in regional studies and formulates new NEFI
science questions. To address these questions, nine research foci are identified and their selections are briefly
justified. These foci include warming of the Arctic; changing frequency, pattern, and intensity of extreme and
inclement environmental conditions; retreat of the cryosphere; changes in terrestrial water cycles; changes in
the biosphere; pressures on land use; changes in infrastructure; societal actions in response to environmental
change; and quantification of Northern Eurasia’s role in the global Earth system. Powerful feedbacks between
the Earth and human systems in Northern Eurasia (e.g., mega-fires, droughts, depletion of the cryosphere
essential for water supply, retreat of sea ice) result from past and current human activities (e.g., large-scale
water withdrawals, land use, and governance change) and potentially restrict or provide new opportunities for
future human activities. Therefore, we propose that integrated assessment models are needed as the final
stage of global change assessment. The overarching goal of this NEFI modeling effort will enable evaluation
of economic decisions in response to changing environmental conditions and justification of mitigation and
adaptation efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalProgress in Earth and Planetary Science
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • Environmental changes, Northern Eurasia, Ecosystems dynamics, Terrestrial water cycle, Cryosphere retreat, Extreme and inclement environmental conditions, Sustainable development, Land cover and land use change, Integrated assessment models for decision-makers

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