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Arctic Biodiversity Assessment
« on: May 22, 2013, 04:36:28 PM »
The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council has released the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (free download).

From the press release:
"The assessment, which explores the potentially dramatic consequences of climate change and other factors that adversely affect species and their habitats in the Arctic, will provide critical information to policy makers on what is needed to secure the ecosystems and species that local communities rely on for their livelihoods. In essence, the report gives us a preview of what may happen in other parts of the world if we do not get serious about achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.”

Arctic biodiversity is being degraded, but decisive action taken now can help sustain the vast, relatively undisturbed ecosystems of tundra, mountains, fresh water and seas and the valuable services they provide, says the report. This globally unique opportunity for proactive action can minimize or prevent problems that would be costly or impossible to reverse in the future.

"As climate belts move north, large parts of the Arctic may lose their specific Arctic ecosystems and biodiversity," says Hans Meltofte, chief scientist for the ABA. "The Arctic is home to thousands of unique cold-adapted species, many of which are found only there. But with climate change and increased interest in the region, if we do not act now we may lose the incredible assets and fascination that Arctic biodiversity offers us all."

The key findings of the ABA deal with the:

*significance of climate change as the most serious underlying driver of overall change in biodiversity;
*necessity of taking an ecosystem-based approach to management; and
*importance of mainstreaming biodiversity by making it integral to other policy fields, for example, in development, plans and operations.

Services and values to people

The Arctic is home to over 21,000 species, including many globally significant populations of unique and highly cold-adapted mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, plants, fungi and microorganisms, some found nowhere else on Earth. In addition to its intrinsic worth, Arctic biodiversity provides innumerable services and values to people. More than a tenth of the world’s fish catches by weight come from Arctic and sub-Arctic seas. The Arctic is the breeding ground for millions of migratory birds that fly to every continent, connecting the region with the rest of the world and contributing to global biodiversity.

H/t to the ever-interesting Ice-blog, who points out
Reports of this kind are usually very hard to read. I must commend the authors for the online presentation of this one. It’s divided into readable chapters and has some spectacular pictures.


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Re: Arctic Biodiversity Assessment
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 06:17:29 PM »
Thanks for that, Anne. I'll be sure to read it.