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Division of Forest and Forest Resources

Deterioration and decay of wooden cultural heritage in Arctic and Alpine environments (ArcticAlpineDecay)

Tourists at Virgohamna on Svalbard. Photo: Anne-Cathrine Flyen
Active Last updated: 30.11.2022
End: dec 2025
Start: nov 2021

In ArcticAlpineDecay, researchers study how tourists and climate affect our vulnerable cultural heritage on Svalbard and Hardangervidda in Norway.

Arctic Alpine Decay logo
Two related projects

ArcticAlpineDecay has established a collaboration with two projects, ie PCCH-Arctic, and CULTCOAST. These projects work within the same topics and also have field locations on Svalbard. Both are funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Project webpages:

PCCH-Arctic (Sintef)


Hytter påHardangervidda. Foto AC Flyen NIKU.jpg
Cabins at Hardangervidda. Photo: Anne-Cathrine Flyen/NIKU
Start - end date 01.11.2021 - 31.12.2025
Project manager Gry Alfredsen
Division Division of Forest and Forest Resources
Department Wood Technology
Partners NIKU, Royal Danish Academy, Mycoteam AS, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani, Kings Bay AS, Norwegian Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Den Norske Turistforening Oslo og Omegn, Vestland fylkeskommune
Funding source Forskningsrådet

Our wooden cultural heritage in the Arctic Svalbard and the Alpine regions of mainland Norway is situated in vulnerable ecosystems with high impact from the ongoing climate changes in addition to increased human influence and land use changes.  The main objective of ArcticAlpineDecay is to mitigate negative consequences of these threats. This is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals which highlight the importance of strengthening the efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

ArcticAlpineDecay will increase the resilience of wooden cultural heritage through cross-disciplinary cooperation and basic research involving stakeholders, public authorities, tourist trade, commerce, cultural historical science, wood science and societal science.


Main tasks in ArcticAlpineDecay:

  1. Identify and quantify the wood characteristics and decay rate resulting from fungal deterioration of wood and include the data in an open access database.
  2. Identify the impact of user, tourist and guide behaviour and perception regarding wooden cultural heritage.
  3. Provide future deterioration scenarios and risk assessment analysis for typologies of wooden cultural heritage.
  4. Assemble a web knowledge platform.

The platform will facilitate future practical, sustainable and fitting management strategies to ensure the resilience of wooden cultural heritage. This will also include the people's knowledge and perception of the use and protection of cultural environments in the face of climatic, environmental and societal change. Such an approach will ensure sustainable use and management of wooden cultural heritage in Arctic and Alpine environments.


Work Packages in ArcticAlpineDecay:

WP 1 The current condition of wooden cultural heritage. Leader: Gry Alfredsen / NIBIO

WP 2 Understanding of and adaptation to wooden cultural heritage. Leader: Atle Wehn Hegnes / NIBIO

WP 3 Scenarios and Risk Assessment. Leader: Lone Ross / NIBIO

WP 4 Resilience of wooden cultural heritage for the future. Leader: Anne-Cathrine Flyen / NIKU

WP 5 Coordination, communication and dissemination. Leader: Gry Alfredsen / NIBIO


Svært nedbrutt treverk i restene etter den russiske fangststasjonen i Russekeila på Svalbard - Foto_ AC Flyen.jpg
Decomposed wood in the remains of the Russian fishing station in Russekeila on Svalbard. Photo: Anne-Cathrine Flyen