Saturday May 27, 2017

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Week Ahead

Terrestrial ecosystem monitoring

Worth keeping an eye on (Photo: CAFF)

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Each week, The Arctic Journal gets our readers ready for the week ahead by profiling some of the events we expect to be reading about in the coming days. If you have an event you think ought to be profiled in a coming week, please contact us

Other topics for the week of March 20-26 include:
Unregulated high-seas fisheries
- Nordic Day
- US and Alaska budgets
Justice for Greenland
- Norex 2017


The Arctic is perhaps most associated with ice, both at sea and on land. What is easily overlooked is the vital role its lands play in the lives of local populations, as well as for the climate, at the local, regional and global level.

In the coming week, the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program, a part of the Arctic Council’s CAFF working group, will hold a meeting of its terrestrial group.

CAFF, short for Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, is an acronym those who keep an eye on the Arctic Council will be familiar with. In brief, its responsibility is biodiversity.

DOWNLOAD: CBMP Terrestrial Plan

CBMP, short for Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program, will be less familiar, but is a group that works to harmonise and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic’s living resources in four types of environments: marine, coastal, freshwater and terrestrial.

Terrestrial ecosystems, according to CAFF, face a variety of threats. Climate change is the most obvious; others that receive less attention include habitat fragmentation, regional development projects and urbanisation, air traffic and invasive species.

One challenge the group has is how to figure out how the pressures, either alone or in combination, affect species and ecosystems. This is difficult, according to the group’s remit, because of the Arctic’a variation and size.

In addition, existing monitoring efforts are often not co-ordinated, which limits their effectiveness. Meanwhile, there is increasing pressure to come up with ways to address the changes the region is facing. Meeting locally, then, could have an impact not just globally, but also locally.