The CBMP logoThe Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) is an international network of scientists, government agencies, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working together to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic's living resources.

The CBMP focuses its efforts on five key program areas:

CBMP experts are developing four coordinated and integrated Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring Plans to help guide circumpolar monitoring efforts. Results will be channeled into effective conservation, mitigation and adaptation policies supporting the Arctic. These plans represent the Arctic's major ecosystems:


Purpose of the CBMP

The CBMP facilitates Arctic biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of the region's natural resources. Its goal is to facilitate more rapid detection, communication, and response to significant biodiversity-related trends and pressures. It does this by:

  • Harmonizing and enhancing Arctic monitoring efforts, thereby improving the ability to detect and understand significant trends; and,
  • Reporting to, and communicating with, key decision makers and stakeholders, thereby enabling effective conservation and adaptation responses to changes in Arctic biodiversity.


 CBMP poster, click to download


 Need for the CBMP

Monitoring expert with northern fulmarMonitoring expert with northern fulmar. Photo: CBMP

There are hundreds of biodiversity-related monitoring programs currently underway. Over half a billion dollars is spent on monitoring the Arctic’s living resources annually. However, this monitoring remains largely uncoordinated, which limits the ability to detect and understand circumpolar changes. Lack of coordination and technical information can impede coherent and effective decision making.

Meanwhile Arctic biodiversity faces many pressures and stressors leaving communities vulnerable and increasing the urgency to act. The Arctic’s significant contribution to the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological balance makes the maintenance of healthy Arctic ecosystems a global imperative. Yet the Arctic is under increasing stress from climate change and resource development, with unpredictable consequences for biodiversity.

The 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) recommended "long term Arctic biodiversity monitoring be expanded and enhanced." In response to the ACIA, the Arctic Council directed two of its working groups —  the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) to examine the report's findings and develop follow-up programs to address key projections for the future of the Arctic. CAFF's primary response was to initiate the development of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) as its cornerstone program. It received Arctic Council Ministerial endorsement in 2004 (Reykjavik Declaration) and 2006 (Salekhard Declaration).


 Ecosystem Based Approach

Monitoring seabirds/ Photo: Grant Gilchrist, Environment CanadaMonitoring seabirds/ Photo: Grant Gilchrist, Environment CanadaThe CBMP operates under an ecosystem-based approach. The ecosystem-based approach to monitoring considers the integrity of entire ecosystems and their interaction with other ecosystems. It provides a bridge between ecosystems, habitats, species, and the impacts of stressors on ecological functions. Results contribute to adaptive management, allowing for effective conservation, mitigation, and adaptation actions appropriate to the Arctic.

In the context of Arctic biodiversity, the ecosystem-based approach recognizes:

  • Monitoring all the key elements of ecosystems—including species, habitats, ecosystem structure, processes, functions and stressors—is necessary to track biodiversity;
  • Focusing on trends will incorporate the dynamic nature of Arctic ecosystems and identify changes that fall outside the realm of natural variability; 
  • The interplay between terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems shape Arctic ecology and the "goods and services" that Arctic biodiversity provides; 
  • Geographically external conditions influence Arctic biodiversity; 
  • Humans and their cultural diversity are an integral component of many ecosystems and, 
  • The importance of monitoring the interactions between people and biodiversity, such as sustainable use and the ability of biodiversity to provide essential goods.


 A "Network of Networks"

Survey teamSurvey team. Photo: CBMPThe CBMP is coordinating the wide range of Arctic biodiversity monitoring activity spanning biological, geographical, and climatic disciplines. This includes standardizing practices, coordinating and integrating information, and providing services in data management (through the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service), communications, reporting and decision-making.

In the context of Arctic biodiversity monitoring, this "network of networks" approach recognizes:

  • The importance of some species and species groups to both the people and biodiversity of the Arctic;
  • The value of building on existing Arctic monitoring capacity, which is mostly organized via networks;
  • That species-based monitoring is an established and effective method well suited for standardization across the circumpolar Arctic;
  • That people without technical training can readily comprehend the types of data yielded by species networks (versus the ecosystem-based approach); and,
  • The importance of building on the strong linkages between scientific and community-based monitoring found in some networks.

The CBMP works with partners to develop and promote measures for biotic elements across the Arctic, including expansion to new networks. Linkages will be established with other monitoring networks focusing on abiotic or extra-Arctic biological elements with impacts on and/or overlaps with Arctic biodiversity.


 CBMP Structure

The CBMP is comprised of various members and partners associated with Arctic biodiversity and monitoring. 


Organizational Structure of the CBMP (click to enlarge)


 International Linkages

To ensure coordination and integration with related global initiatives, the CBMP is strategically linked to other international conservation programs and research and monitoring initiatives, including:

Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile