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Pasture land in the Caucausus ecoregion Pasture land in the Caucausus ecoregion
Overgrazing and uncontrolled livestock grazing threatens steppe, subalpine and alpine ecosystems. A third of pasturelands in the region are subject to erosion. Sheep grazing in the winter ranges and the steppes and semi-deserts of the eastern Caucasus has nearly tripled in the past decade. Intensive grazing has resulted in reduced species diversity and habitat degradation. Secondary plant communities now occupy 80 percent of grasslands in the sub...
29 Jan 2008 - by WWF-Caucasus, design Manana Kurtubadze
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The economy of legal wildlife trade The economy of legal wildlife trade
The trade in wild species can contribute significantly to rural incomes, and the effect upon local economies can be substantial. The high value of wildlife products and derivatives can also provide positive economic incentives to provide an alternative to other land use options for the local people - to protect wild species and their habitats, and to maintain the resource for sustainable and profitable use in the medium and long term. Consequent...
12 May 2008 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Money talks for turtles - conservation and economy Money talks for turtles - conservation and economy
Marine turtles have been used for eggs, meat, shell, oil, leather or other products for 7000 years. Modern times have introduced another way for society to profit from these species - to generate economic income as a tourism attraction. Sound turtle management relies on local communities, which – as economic incentive - should receive a fair share of the revenues. In many cases, the bulk of the revenues from the local level end up elsewhere, eve...
12 May 2008 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Protected areas, Arctic and Antarctic Protected areas, Arctic and Antarctic
Protected areas are very important for conserving biodiversity. In these areas, human activities are managed to achieve specific conservation goals, for example, to protect a certain species or to conserve a representative habitat or ecosystem. The Arctic has many terrestrial protected areas, but is generally lacking in marine protected areas (MPAs). As the climate warms and the sea ice melts, there will be greater access for activities such as f...
31 Jul 2008 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Coldwater coral reefs, distribution Coldwater coral reefs, distribution
Scientists are just beginning to learn about the many species in the remote, deep waters of the polar oceans. Corals, for example, are not limited to the warm, shallow waters of the tropics. They also exist in many cold, deep waters all over the world, including Arctic and sub-Antarctic waters. Coral reefs are marine ridges or mounds, which have formed over millennia as a result of the deposition of calcium carbonate by living organisms, predomin...
31 Jul 2008 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Projected impacts of climate change Projected impacts of climate change
Global climate change may impact food production across a range of pathways (Figure 17): 1) By changing overall growing conditions (general rainfall distribution, temperature regime and carbon); 2) By inducing more extreme weather such as floods, drought and storms; and 3) By increasing extent, type and frequency of infestations, including that of invasive alien species (dealt with in a separate section).
02 Feb 2009 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Possible individual ranges of yield and cropland area losses by 2050 Possible individual ranges of yield and cropland area losses by 2050
Figure 24: Possible individual ranges of yield and cropland area losses by 2050 with climate change (A2 scenario), non-food crops incl. biofuels (six OECD scenarios), land degradation (on yield and area, respectively, see text), water scarcity (including gradual melt of Himalayas glaciers, see box and text) and pests (invasive species of weeds, pathogens and invertebrates such as insects, see text). Although these effects may be considerable, ...
02 Feb 2009 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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A photographic impression of the gradual changes in two ecosystem types A photographic impression of the gradual changes in two ecosystem types
Globally, over 1,000 (87%) of a total of 1,226 threatened bird species are impacted by agriculture. More than 70 species are affected by agricultural pollution, 27 of them seriously. Europe’s farmland birds have declined by 48% in the past 26 years (European Bird Census Council, 2008). Pesticides and herbicides pose a threat to 37 threatened bird species globally (BirdLife, 2008), in addition to deleterious effects of agricultural chemica...
02 Feb 2009 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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The bushmeat chain reaction The bushmeat chain reaction
As many of the parks and surrounding forests have lost 50–80% of their wildlife species, typically antelopes, zebras and other ungulates, the poachers are increasingly targeting primates including gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees. A significant demand comes from bushmeat hunters to supply militias, refugee camps and mining and logging camps, where much of the work- force is forced. Thirty-four million people living in the forests of Central Afri...
01 Mar 2010 - by Riccardo Pravettoni
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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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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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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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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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