The wolffish is one of the species found in the Arctic. Photo: Trude Pettersen(Photo: Trude Pettersen)
KIRUNA: the Arctic Council’s biodiversity group today released the “Arctic Biodiversity Assessment”, a report containing the best available science on the status and trends of Arctic biodiversity and accompanying policy recommendations for biodiversity conservation.
“Arctic Biodiversity Assessment”, has involved over 250 scientists and has been produced by some of the world’s leading experts. It was presented to the Foreign Ministers of the Arctic Council countries at the Arctic Council Ministerial on May 15 by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group . The report synthesizes scientific findings on status and trends in Arctic biodiversity. This major circumpolar effort provides a much needed description of the state of biodiversity in the Arctic.
The report articulates how the environment is changing and signals to policymakers what needs to be done to secure the ecosystems and species that people rely on for life and livelihood. The report explores the potentially dramatic consequences of climate change and other factors that adversely affect species and their habitats in the Arctic. It provides critical information to policy makers on what is needed to secure the ecosystems and species that local communities rely on for their livelihoods.
The Arctic is home to over 21,000 species, including many globally significant populations of unique and highly cold-adapted species from mammals, birds and fish to fungi and microorganisms, some found nowhere else on Earth. 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.
Arctic biodiversity is being degraded, CAFF states, 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.