Élise Lépy




Élise Lépy is an environmental geographer based at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Oulu. She is working as a researcher at the discipline of Cultural Anthropology where her expertise is used in various international and multidisciplinary research projects on human-environment relationships in the Circumpolar North. Always having in mind the complexity of the intertwining of scales, her research deals with the complicated question of the local understanding of global phenomena such as global environmental change including climate change, and with the combined effects of multiple pressures on (sub)Arctic landscapes and communities and traditional livelihoods. She has conducted fieldwork in European Arctic (Finnish Lapland) and sub-Arctic (Baltic Sea) and Canadian sub-Arctic (Saguenay fjord, mining towns of Schefferville and Fermont). She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Caen Basse-Normandie, France (2009). Her dissertation dealt with “Baltic Sea ice and its environmental and societal impacts on coastal waters of the Bay of Bothnia and the Gulf of Riga”.

Current research projects

ILMASI (Ilmastosiirtolaisuus: kohti ilmiön parempaa ymmärtämistä ja hallintaa, "Climate migration, towards a better understanding and management", 2020-2021), VN-TEAS

TRANSARCT (Transformation and Social Innovation for Sustainable Arctic Communities, 2018-2021), Strategic research project of the University of Oulu

REXSAC (Nordic Centre of Excellence on Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities, 2016-2021) funded by Nordforsk
Organisation of the international workshop on "Challenges and opportunities of supplementary feeding in reindeer husbandry in Fennoscandinavia" (REXSAC, REiGN and CLINF NCoEs)


Past research projects

PITCH (Primary Industries and Transformational Change, 2014-2018) funded by the Research Council of Norway

Understanding the cultural impact and issues of Lapland mining (2014-2018) funded by the Academy of Finland under the ARKTIKO programme

CLICHE (Impacts of climate change on Arctic environment, ecosystem services and society, 2011-2014) funded by the Academy of Finland under FICCA programme

DILACOMI (Different Land use Activities and local Communities in Mining projects – model for the best regulation and practices, 2011-2013), funded by TEKES

EU Life+ project VACCIA (Vulnerability assessment of ecosystem services for climate change impacts and adaptation, 2009-2011)

FiDiPro programme Human-Environment Relations in the North: resource development, climate change and resilience (2009-2011)

Teaching and organisation of courses

Courses taught in 2019/20:
The Baltic Sea: marine environment, people and space, Scandinavian Studies Programme
Humans and Environment, Scandinavian Studies Programme
Environment and livelihoods in Northern Finland, Scandinavian Studies Summer School
Research methods , Anthropology and Archaeology

Organisation of doctoral courses:
REXSAC PHD course on environmental impact assessment (EIA) (October 2019)
Undisciplined Visions: Introduction to New Creative Visual Research Methods and Practices (Autumn 2019)
Listening In: Acoustic Dimensions across Interdisciplinary Research (28-30 November 2018)
Innovating Interdisciplinary Approaches and Methods in Arctic Research (13-16 December 2017)


Research groups

  • Resource Extraction & Sustainable Arctic Communities (REXSAC) https://www.rexsac.org/
  • Primary Industries and Transformational Change (PITCH)

Selected publications

  • Lépy, Élise; Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Komu, Teresa; Sarkki, Simo (2018) Participatory meaning making of environmental and cultural changes in reindeer herding in the northernmost border area of Sweden and Finland. - International Journal of Business and Globalisation 20 (2), In press [Original]
  • Lépy, Élise; Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Landauer, Mia; Pekkarinen, Antti-Juhani; Sarkki, Simo (2018) Porojen lisäruokinta syytöksenä ja muutoksena. - Poromies (6), 28-29
  • Lépy, Élise; Pasanen, Leena (2017) Observed regional climate variability during the last 50 years in reindeer herding cooperatives of Finnish Fell Lapland. - Climate 5 (4), 81 . [Original] [Self-archived]
  • Lépy, Élise (2017) Climat, temps, saisons... : Perceptions des éleveurs de rennes de Laponie finlandaise. Communications numéro 101 : Le temps qu'il fait. de la Soudiére, Martin; Tabeaud, Martine; Vasak, Anouchka. - Ei sarjaa/No series. Paris. 47-61
  • Lépy, Élise; Rantala, Sinikka; Huusko, Antti; Nieminen, Pentti; Hippi, Marjo; Rautio, Arja (2016) Role of Winter Weather Conditions and Slipperiness on Tourists' Accidents in Finland. - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13 (8), 822 . [Original]
  • Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Acosta, Nicolas G.; Sarkki, Simo; Lépy, Élise (2016) Context-sensitive political ecology to consolidate local realities under global discourses : A view for tourism studies. Political Ecology and Tourism. Nepal, Sanjay; Saarinen, Jarkko. - Ei sarjaa/No series. London. 211-224, 13. [Original]
  • Sarkki, Simo; Komu, Teresa; Heikkinen, Hannu I; Acosta Garcia, Nicolas; Lépy, Élise; Herva, Vesa-Pekka (2016) Applying a Synthetic Approach to the Resilience of Finnish Reindeer Herding as a Changing Livelihood. - Ecology and Society 21 (4), 14 . [Original]
  • Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Lépy, Élise; Sarkki, Simo; Komu, Teresa (2016) Challenges in acquiring a social licence to mine in the globalising Arctic. - Polar Record 52 (4), 399-411 . [Original]
  • Lépy, Élise; Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Karjalainen, Timo P.; Tervo-Kankare, Kaarina; Kauppila, Pekka; Suopajarvi, Tiina; Ponnikas, Jouni; Siikamaki, Pirkko; Rautio, Arja (2014) Multidisciplinary and participatory approach for assessing local vulnerablility of tourism to climate change. - Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism 14 (1), 41-59 . [Original]
  • Kokko, Kai; Oksanen, Anniina; Hast, Sanna; Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Hentilä, Helka-Liisa; Jokinen, Mikko; Komu, Teresa; Kunnari, Marika; Lépy, Élise; Soudunsaari, Leena; Suikkanen, Asko; Suopajärvi, Leena (2014) Sound Mining in the North : A Guide to Environmental Regulation and Best Practices Supporting Social Sustainability. - Ei sarjaa/No series. Espoo. 67. [Original]
  • Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Kasanen, Mervi; Lépy, Élise (2013) Resilience, vulnerability and adaptation in reindeer herding communities in the Finnish-Swedish border area. Negotiating resources, engaging people : Human-environment relations in the North. NGP Yearbook 2012. Nuttall, Mark; Tervo-Kankare, Kaarina; Karjalainen, Timo P. - Nordia Geographical Publications 41:5. Oulu, Geographical Society of Northern Finland and the Department of Geography, University of Oulu. 107-121
  • Lépy, Élise (2015) Les glaces de la Mer Baltique : quels risques pour le transport touristique?. (Artikkeli tieteellisessä konferenssijulkaisussa). - Tourisme de neige et de glace dans les régions septentrionales : réalités et enjeux. Antomarchi, Véronique. Ei sarjaa/No series. Allonzier-la-Caille. 117-131
  • Lépy, Élise (2013) The recent history of Finnish winter navigation in the Baltic Sea. - Polar Record 49 (248), 33-41
  • Lépy, Élise (2013) Les conditions glacielles de la Baltique du XVIème au XXIème siècle. - Physio-Géo 7, 1-18 . [Original]
  • Lépy, Élise (2012) Baltic Sea ice and environmental and societal implications from the comparative analysis of the Bay of Bothnia and the Gulf of Riga. - Fennia 190 (2), 90-101 . [Original]


Understanding the Cultural Impacts and Issues of Lapland Mining: A Long-Term Perspective on Sustainable Mining Policies in the North

Mining and the exploitation of mineral resources in northern Fennoscandia (Lapland/Sápmi) are subject to many controversies and entangled with dive

Transformation and Social Innovation for Sustainable Arctic Communities

Strategic research project of the University of OuluFocus institute: EudaimoniaFaculty: Humanities