The Arctic Flora Inventory (AFI) is a project that will develop a database containing information on the diversity and distribution of vascular plants in the Arctic. Data will be made available on the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS).

As the only Panarctic data source on the distribution of vascular plants, the AFI will:

  • increase our knowledge of plant distribution in the Arctic thus will be of great help in mapping areas of high biodiversity value, assessing the impact of non-native species in different spatial scales (local, regional, Panarctic), mapping areas of their spread and predict directions of future colonisation.
  • serve as a tool for informed decision making, 
  • contribute towards the implementation of Arctic Biodiversity Assessment recommendations 
  • contribute towards the implementation of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program



The Arctic Flora Inventory will adopt the definition used by Arctic Biodiversity Assessment and the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map.



Phase 1 2016-2017

  • Designing the database (structure, metadata) and identification of infrastructure needed: Several teleconferences and a workshop (optionally) will be held during Phase 1 to design the database and agree on the metadata standards that will be applied. A document specifying the data standards for AFI will be produced as a result of this phase. Specialists from CAFF Secretariat will provide advice concerning technical matters connected with the construction of the database. Involvement of TLK in this early stage of the design of the database would be beneficial but is subject to resources and capacities available
  • Identification of data providers and their involvement in the project: Representatives are requested from each Arctic Council Member State and PP to take part in the project Steering Committee (SC). SC members will be responsible for identifying data providers in their countries (herbaria, other institutions and databases, etc.). Potential data providers will be then formally invited to join the project. Upon acceptance of the invitation, each data provider will receive documentation concerning the data standards and schedule. We expect that data providers from institutions outside Arctic Council Member States will also be involved in the project.

 Phase 2 2018-2019

  • Construction of the database and inclusion within the ABDS: Specialists from CAFF Secretariat incorporate the database and construct a means for data providers to submit data.
  • Data upload: Cooperating parties will provide data which will be uploaded to the database or made accessable. Assistance might be needed for those providers who do not have enough expertise to cope with this task. This assistance will be provided by project members and/or CAFF Secretariat.
  • AFI available through the ABDS: Special web page will be launched and the database will be made publicly available on the ABDS.


Why an Arctic Flora Inventory (AFI)?

Knowledge of the distribution of vascular plants in the Arctic is limited when compared with the wealth of distribution data available from lower latitudes, and what information is available is scattered across different sources. However, distribution data from the Arctic do exist and research carried out during the preparation of Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) brought significant progress in this field.

Ready-to-use biodiversity data are a key element of all tasks in monitoring and research in the Arctic. Access to biogeographic data from the region will facilitate and boost research leading to more precise assessments of species range shifts caused by climate change by enabling modelling-based approaches. Point occurrence data are also vital in mapping areas of high biodiversity value, assessing the impact of non-native species in different spatial scales, mapping areas of their spread and predict directions of future colonisation. The database will also serve as a tool for administration and will greatly facilitate well-informed decisions in key areas of environmental policy in the Arctic.

The compilation and organisation of these data within the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS) would facilitate access to and use of these data in Arctic monitoring, assessment and decision making processes. This service would also serve as an excellent tool for education and could be used to boost community-based data collection and monitoring in the Arctic.


Project Steering Group

Pawel Wasowicz*
Icelandic Institute of Natural History
Email Pawel
Phone: +354 460 0500

Kristine Westergaard
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Email Kristine

Henry Vare
University of Helsinki
Email Henry

Vladimir Razzhivin
Komarov Botanical Institute
Russian Academy of Sciences
Email Vladimir

Bruce Bennett
Yukon Conservation Data Centre
Email Bruce

Mora Aronsson
Swedish Species Information Centre
Email Mora


*indicates project chair and contact point


Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile