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Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Arctic biodiversity - pressures and impacts
Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal
The Arctic plays host to a vast array of biodiversity, including many globally significant populations. Included among these are more than half of the world´s shorebird species, 80% of the global goose populations, several million reindeer and caribou, and many unique mammals, such as the polar bear. During the short summer breeding season, 279 species of birds arrive from as far away as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America to take advantage of the long days and intense period of productivity. Several species of marine mammals, including grey and humpback whales, and harp and hooded seals, also migrate annually to the Arctic. Currently the environment in the circumpolar North represents one of the areas of the World with the least human impact. Pressures that exist and are on the increase are climate change, infrastructure development, the development of mineral resources - such as oil and gas and increased economic activity.