Indigenous peoples living in northern territories rely on long, cold winters to be able to hunt and trap for food and other necessities, and to travel over ice and to transport necessary goods over winter roads. Many Indigenous communities rely on the environment for subsistence foods, commercial enterprises (commercial hunting, fishing, forestry, ecotourism), and for socio-cultural and spiritual health (medicines, commercial uses). Many Indigenous communities may have difficulty in adapting to the impacts of climate change because of their economic circumstances and complex, and frequently constraining externally- imposed governance structures.
The impacts of climate change on traditional economies (fishing, forestry, hunting, trapping, crafts) could force many Indigenous communities to find new sources of revenue, which may require expensive investments in infrastructure and resources. Changes in climate may affect common transportation routes such as winter roads and will put pressure on communities to find alternative methods of transportation.