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 marine mammal habitats. The first protected areas in the Arctic were established in Sweden and Alaska at the beginning of the 20th century. The area under protection remained low until the 1970s when it began to increase significantly with additions of large areas such as the Greenland National Park . By 1980, 5.6% of the Arctic was classified under some degree of protection. This has steadily increased until today where 11% of the Arctic, about 3.5 million km2, has protected status in 1127 protected areas.
From collection: Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010
Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF