GRID Polar Division News

Specialists Meet to Develop an International Monitoring Plan for Polar Bears

Twenty-two scientists, managers and community experts from Russia, Norway, Canada, Greenland and the United States met in Edmonton, Canada on February 19th to 21st, 2011 to develop a Pan-Arctic Monitoring Plan for Polar Bears.

The U.S. Marine Mammal Commission sponsored the workshop and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF – Working Group of the Arctic Council managed it. CAFF through its Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP – invited participants based on their expertise on polar bears and/or monitoring.

The workshop focused on developing a coordinated and efficient pan-Arctic monitoring approach that would:

  • detect changes in polar bear populations across the Arctic,
  • implement standard assessment measures using community-based and scientific monitoring,
  • identify which subpopulations to monitor and the necessary frequency of monitoring,
  • use a suite of indicators to assess subpopulation status and trends,
  • identify the factors driving population changes, and
  • report the results to decision-makers from local communities to national government and regional bodies.

Arctic ecosystems are changing rapidly and will continue to do so. Monitoring polar bears is a considerable challenge that will require substantial resources. To be successful, we must focus and prioritise circumpolar monitoring efforts and work together across national boundaries. Doing so is essential to better coordinate our assessment efforts, further our understanding, and convey the information needed to conserve and manage this remarkable species” said workshop organizer Dag Vongraven from the Norwegian Polar Institute.

The results of the workshop will be used to develop a Pan-Arctic Polar Bear Monitoring Plan over the coming months (expected release September 2011). The draft plan will undergo comprehensive review prior to adoption.

The background paper developed for the worshop can be downloaded here.

Press Release Source: Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), contact Photo credit: Rune Dietz, Danish National Environmental Research Institute. 



Wednesday 09 Mar 2011