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  1. Abstract Understanding the causes and consequences of environmental change is one of the key challenges facing researchers today as both types of information are required for decision making and adaptation planning. This need is particularly poignant in high latitude regions where permafrost thaw is causing widespread changes to local environments and the land-users who must adapt to changing conditions to sustain their livelihoods. The inextricable link between humans and their environments is recognized through socio-ecological systems research, yet many of these approaches employ top-down solutions that can lead to local irrelevance and create tensions amongst groups. We present and employ a framework for the use both of scientific and community-based knowledge sources that provides an enriched and thematic understanding of how permafrost thaw will affect northern land-users. Using geospatial modeling of permafrost vulnerability with community-based data from nine rural communities in Alaska, we show that permafrost thaw is a major driver of hazards for land-users and accounts for one-third to half of the hazards reported by community participants. This study develops an integrated permafrost-land-user system, providing a framework for thematic inquiry for future studies that will add value to large-scale institutional efforts and locally relevant observations of environmental change. 
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  2. null (Ed.)