Autonomous Transhumance

Tushar Mondal

The Arctic is a zone of confluent resources where climate change has begun disrupting the once stable ecological and transhumant lifestyles. Encroachment on pastureland by oil, gas and mining facilities limit reindeer herding activity, and the presence of such infrastructure continues to alter their sensory perceptions and consequently their capacity to read and navigate their environment. Parallel to this, thawing permafrost results in the release of gaseous methane, causing landforms called pingos to explode without detectable warning. This paper proposes a strategy for adapting to these rapid changes by implementing an autonomous system to balance the Arctic ecology through two mutual dependent interventions- (1) Regenerating the pingos to prevent explosion and create new pastoral lands. (2) Seasonally herding the reindeer to these new pastures. The project uses primary data, physical tests, and current technological tools to inform the discourse and suggest a derivative solution. Advanced computational tools like machine learning, robotics, and simulations are used to speculate upon the post-carbon Arctic ecology. The project performs through a strategy of local interventions, networking the living and non-living agents in a tight rope act that balances the Arctic ecology.

Keywords: Arctic, Pingo, Regenerated Landscape, Reindeer, Autonomous Herding, Sdg13, Sdg15

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