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Collection: Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010

Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010
A component of the comprehensive Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) of the Arctic Council, this report provides a snapshot of the trends being observed in Arctic biodiversity today. Twenty-two indicators examine the current state of the environment. Issues include sea birds, fisheries, climate change, polar bears and traditional knowledge.
Available online at: http://www.grida.no/publications/list/4243.aspx
Invasive species response to climate change - Hydrilla spp, current and 2080 habitat suitability Invasive species response to climate change - Hydrilla spp, current and 2080 habitat suitability
As climate change alters Arctic ecosystems and enables greater human activity, biological invasions are likely to increase in the Arctic. To some extent, Arctic terrestrial ecosystems may be predisposed to invasion because many invasive plants are adapted to open disturbed areas. Range map scenarios developed for 16 highly invasive plants either occurring in or at risk of invading Alaska also paint a sobering outlook for the future. This map dep...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Trends in vegetation biomass, Ellsmere Island 1995-2007 Trends in vegetation biomass, Ellsmere Island 1995-2007
Data from many sources and at several scales suggest that recent climate change is already affecting terrestrial Arctic ecosystems. Comparisons of historical and contemporary aerial photographs provide evidence that Arctic vegetation has already undergone significant shifts in recent decades, foreshadowing changes that are likely to come. In a repeated measurement study conducted on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, over a period of 13 years, t...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Definition of the geographic areas covered in the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment Definition of the geographic areas covered in the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment
The Arctic Council study on trends in the polar ecosystems - the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) focuses on the areas displayed in this map. The high- and low Arctic regions are defined from the bioclimatic zones in the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM), while the sub-Arctic zone is the area definition that has been used int he Arctic Council.
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Disappearing lakes - Old Crow Basin, Canada (1951-2001) Disappearing lakes - Old Crow Basin, Canada (1951-2001)
The Arctic contains a variety of types of lakes but overall, it is thermokarst lakes and ponds that are the most abundant and productive aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic. They are found extensively in the lowland regions of western and northern Alaska, Canada and Siberia. These (i.e., thaw) lakes are most commonly formed by the thaw of ice-rich permafrost, which leads to the collapse of ground levels and ponding of surface water in the depression...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Permafrost loss in peatlands of northern Quebec, 1957-2003 Permafrost loss in peatlands of northern Quebec, 1957-2003
Over recent years, the southern limit of permafrost in northern peatlands has retreated by 39 km on average and by as much as 200 km in some parts of the Canadian Arctic. Although regional warming by 1.32°C has accelerated permafrost thaw in northern Manitoba, Canada, these changes are not exclusively linked to temperature rise. The loss of permafrost in Quebec has been attributed to the insulating effect of increased snowfall since the late 1950...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Bovanenkovo gas field and impacts on reindeer herding (Yamal, Russia) Bovanenkovo gas field and impacts on reindeer herding (Yamal, Russia)
A false color Quickbird-2 satellite image of a portion of the Bovanenkovo Gas Field on the Yamal Peninsula in West Siberia. Image acquired 4 July 2004. The construction phase began in the late 1980s. From that period onward there remain visible signs of extensive off-road vehicle traffic across the terrain. Many of those tracks have naturally revegetated and now appear as bright red, indicating dense grass- and sedge-dominated vegetation. The roa...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Protected Areas in the Arctic Protected Areas in the Arctic
Protected areas have long been viewed as a key element for maintaining and conserving Arctic biodiversity and the functioning landscapes upon which species depend. Arctic protected areas have been established in strategically important and representative areas, helping to maintain crucial ecological features, e.g., caribou migration and calving areas, shorebird and waterfowl staging and nesting sites, seabird colonies, and critical components of ...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Trends in lakes in the Arctic Trends in lakes in the Arctic
The Arctic contains a variety of types of lakes but overall, it is thermokarst lakes and ponds that are the most abundant and productive aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic. They are found extensively in the lowland regions of western and northern Alaska, Canada and Siberia. These (i.e., thaw) lakes are most commonly formed by the thaw of ice-rich permafrost, which leads to the collapse of ground levels and ponding of surface water in the depression...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Time series of freeze-up and break-up dates from selected Northern Hemisphere lakes and rivers, 1846–1995 Time series of freeze-up and break-up dates from selected Northern Hemisphere lakes and rivers, 1846–1995
Limited by the availability of detailed observations, most historical evaluations of changes in freshwater ice have focused on relatively simple characteristics, such as the timing of autumn freeze up and spring break up, and maximum ice-cover thickness. Based on 27 long-term (about 150-year) records from around the Northern Hemisphere, Magnuson and others (Figure 8.1) discovered that freeze up has been delayed by approximately six days per hundr...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Wild rangifer population trends Wild rangifer population trends
Wild reindeer and caribou, Rangifer tarandus, are widely distributed around the circumpolar Arctic where they play a key role in the environment, culture, and economy of the region. One of the two major wild reindeer populations in west Greenland has declined from about 45,000 to 35,000 between 2001 and 2005, while the trend for the second major herd is uncertain. From a management and biological perspective, however, it may be desirable to redu...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Consumption of harvested meat/fish in Inuit Households (Canada) Consumption of harvested meat/fish in Inuit Households (Canada)
The harvest of natural resources is a key feature of traditional lifestyles and economies throughout the Arctic, and a continuing reliance on it as a mainstay of indigenous existence in the north is evident. Environmental change in Arctic regions is a key contributing factor to changing Inuit subsistence patterns. As examples, the Inuit speak of the thinning of the ice which makes hunting more challenging; species they once relied upon are disapp...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Arctic summer snow cover extent 1968-2008 Arctic summer snow cover extent 1968-2008
The average snow cover extent during June, July and August across the Arctic (north of the polar circle) section of Eurasia and North America has decreased by 22,000 km2/year during 1968–2008.
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Current marine shipping uses in the Arctic Current marine shipping uses in the Arctic
Biological invasions are known from around the globe but are relatively less known or studied in the Arctic. This secondary migration of invasives complicates ecological interactions as naturally occurring species from areas adjacent to the Arctic are also expanding their ranges northward. Another study found that the rate of marine invasion is increasing; that most reported invasions are by crustaceans and molluscs; and, importantly, that most i...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Trends in speakers of Arctic indigenous languages (1989-2006) Trends in speakers of Arctic indigenous languages (1989-2006)
Language not only communicates, it defines culture, nature, history, humanity, and ancestry. The indigenous languages of the Arctic have been formed and shaped in close contact with their environment. They are a valuable source of information and a wealth of knowledge on human interactions with nature is encoded in these languages. If a language is lost, a world is lost. This deep knowledge and interconnectedness is expressed in Arctic song, subs...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Trends in Arctic shorebird populations Trends in Arctic shorebird populations
Shorebirds are the most diverse group of Arctic breeding birds and one of the most abundant. From the Arctic, they migrate to their non-breeding grounds along well-defined flyways that circle the world. As a group, however, their recent conservation status has been unfavorable. Trend data are only available for 65 of the 112 breeding shorebird populations that are wholly or largely confined to the Arctic. Of these, 35 populations (54%) are in d...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Distribution and current trend of polar bear subpopulations throughout the circumpolar Arctic Distribution and current trend of polar bear subpopulations throughout the circumpolar Arctic
Polar bears occur in 19 relatively discrete subpopulations with an estimated worldwide abundance of 20,000– 25,000 animals. Our knowledge of the status and trend of each subpopulation varies due to availability, reliability, and age of data. Furthermore, for many subpopulations, there is limited or no data collected over a sufficient period of time to examine trends. Based on a 2009 review of the worldwide status of polar bears, one of 19 subpopu...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Murre sensitivity to changes in temperature Murre sensitivity to changes in temperature
Annual rates of population change of individual murre colonies during 12 years after the 1977 climatic regime shift in the North Pacific and during 9 years after the 1989 shift, in relation to changes in sea surface temperatures around the colonies from one decadal regime to the next. Population data are from 32 U. aalge and 21 U. lomvia colonies, encompassing the entire circumpolar region. Ten sites supported both species, so 43 different study...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Trends in Arctic murre populations Trends in Arctic murre populations
The two species of murres (known as guillemots in Europe), the thick-billed murre, Uria lomvia, and common murre, Uria aalge, both have circumpolar distributions, breeding in Arctic, sub-Arctic, and temperate seas from California and northern Spain to northern Greenland, high Arctic Canada, Svalbard, and Novaya Zemlya. The thick-billed murre occurs mostly in Arctic waters, while the common murre, although overlapping extensively with the thick-bi...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Distribution of common eider, breeding and wintering ranges in the Arctic Distribution of common eider, breeding and wintering ranges in the Arctic
The common eider, Somateria mollissima, has a circumpolar distribution breeding mainly on small islands in Arctic and boreal marine areas in Alaska (Bering Sea region), Canada, Greenland, Iceland, western Europe, and the Barents Sea region. In Russia, there is a gap in distribution along the mainland coast from the Yugorski Peninsula (Kara Sea) to Chaunskaya Bay in east Siberia (Figure 5.1). Important wintering areas include the Gulf of Alaska/Be...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Arctic sea ice food web - schematic illustration Arctic sea ice food web - schematic illustration
Sea ice represents a unique ecosystem in the Arctic, providing habitat to specialized iceassociated species that include microorganisms, fish, birds, and marine mammals. Individual species use sea ice in different ways depending on their biological needs. Ice algae form the base of the food web. Some algae stay attached to the bottom of the ice, some fall into the water column, and some fall to the bottom of the sea, and so provide food for speci...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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