Arctic birds are a special case with regard to monitoring populations and causes of change. With few exceptions, Arctic-breeding birds are long-distance migrants and affected by factors outside and inside the Arctic (hunting, development, climate change, habitat desctruction, etc.).

The goal for bird monitoring is to track and report on changes in bird abundance, productivity, and distribution in relation to biotic and abiotic drivers, and to monitor, interpret, and report on how these changes may affect other functional groups in the ecosystem, including vegetation, invertebrates and mammals.

The challenge is monitor as many species as possible across important life stages in a way that helps answer specific management questions. This should be done in a representative, but pragmatic and cost-effective way. Fortunately, there are many ongoing monitoring mechanisms in existence, and with some planning, data can be integrated or trends can be analyzed to take advantage of such available programs.

Photo: Berndt Vorwald/ Photo: Richard Fitzer/

What does the CBMP Terrestrial Birds Expert Network do?

The CBMP Terrestrial Bird Expert Network is tasked with advising on the implementation of the vegetation aspects of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montioring Plan, which includes:

  • communicating information on monitoring programs and approaches
  • recommending monitoring protocols, monitoring approach, and study design which leads to a harmonized, integrated circumpolar monitoring program
  • integrating empirical science and traditional knowledge and engagement of community members in monitoring
  • data access, integration, analysis and reporting related to CBMP Focal Ecosystem Component attributes
  • contributing feedback to support integrated, ecosystem-based management of Arctic wildlife and resources
  • ensuring plan implementation is as relevant as possible to sub-national, national, regional and circumpolar priorities and decision-making
  • ensuring plan implementation adds value and is coordinated with other Arctic terrestrial bird monitoring activities
  • acting as a forum by which to share progress related to the implementation of the birds section of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montioring Plan and discuss implications for participating countries and regions
  • advancing solutions to common issues relevant to Arctic terrestrial bird monitoring
  • planning and conducting communications with various groups and committees at the national, regional and local levels

What does the CBMP say about terrestrial bird monitoring?

The Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montioring Plan includes a solid scientific approach to monitoring birds, including design (and adaptation of existing capacity), investigation through monitoring and focal studies, and interpretation of trends, interrelationships, and ultimately the patterns and causes of change in Arctic ecosystems and biodiversity.

 It details key avian components for monitoring, including: insectivores (shorebirds, waders, passerines); carnivores (birds of prey, owls, skuas, jaegars, ravens); herbivores (geese, swans, ptarmigan); and omnivores (piscivores, cranes, ducks). Seabirds and sea ducks are covered under the CBMP Marine program. Divers and grebes are included under the CBMP Freshwater program.

The following attributes of these components are earmarked as essential, i.e., they give scientists the basic information needed to provide insights on ecosystem change. Other attributes are recommended. For a complete and detailed list please see the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montioring Plan. For all bird groups (insectivores, carnivores, herbivores, omnivores) seven common attributes have been selected as essential for monitoring:

  • abundance
  • spatial structure (distribution)
  • demography (suvival and productivity)
  • phenology
  • diversity (community structure)
  • health (body condition)
  • diversity (genetics)

Priority bird Focal Ecosystem Components and their attributes are:

  • Herbivore abundance, demographics and distribution
  • Carnivore abundance, demographics and distribution
  • Insectivore (shorebird) abundance, demographics and distribution

Who is the CBMP Terrestrial Bird Expert Network?

  • US: Casey Burns, Bureau of Land Management
  • Canada: Paul Smith, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Russia: Mikhail Soloviev, Moscow State University and Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, All Russian Institute for Nature Conservation

Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile