Project Type # Outcome Report Year FEC
Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA)Action13

Increase and focus inventory, long-term monitoring and research efforts to address key gaps in scientific knowledge identified in this assessment to better facilitate the development and implementation of conservation and management strategies. Areas of particular concern identified through the ABA include components critical to ecosystem functions including important characteristics of invertebrates, microbes, parasites and pathogens.

13.1. Share research gaps and priorities identified in the ABA with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning to inform their research priorities.

13.2. Complete the Arctic coastal biodiversity monitoring plan and begin implementation.

13.3. Address monitoring and research gaps in scientific knowledge identified as priorities in the ABA and Arctic Biodiversity Congress, including components critical to ecosystem functions including invertebrates, microbes, parasites and pathogens.

13.4. Report on changes in Arctic species, ecosystems, and the effects of stressors through state of Arctic biodiversity reports.

a. Marine species and ecosystems

b. Terrestrial species and ecosystems

c. Freshwater species and ecosystems

d. Coastal species and ecosystems.

13.5. Explore development of a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the Arctic.

13.6. Develop and update taxonomic lists where there is a gap

a. Red List for Arctic Vascular Plants

b. Moss check list.

13.7. Complete the circumpolar boreal vegetation map.

13.8. Prepare a circumpolar seabird monitoring plan.

Actions for Arctic Biodiversity, 2013-2021: Implementing the recommendations of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment2015
CBird: Seabird Expert Group4.4

Increase knowledge about the colonies in the Arctic.

4.4.1. Finalize an overview of the location of all breeding colonies in the Arctic.

4.4.2. Identify important areas and generate sensitivity maps around the Arctic.

International Black-legged Kittiwake - Conservation Strategy and Action Plan2021
Inspiring Arctic Voices Through Youth

Increase opportunities for youth to engage meaningfully with the work of CAFF, including but not limited to:

  • Education and training
  • Cultural exchanges
  • Professional growth development
  • Involvement in projects, decision-making, policy, and diplomacy.
  • Youth roles in professional convenings such as the Arctic Biodiversity Congress.
  • Mentoring opportunities
CAFF Arctic Youth Engagement Strategy: 2021-20262021
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)Action2

Increase quality and quantity of population status assessment data of Arctic breeding waterbirds in the African-Eurasian Flyway

2.1 Support filling knowledge gaps and strengthening monitoring of Arctic waterbirds in the breeding grounds of the flyway, including implementing CBMP in cooperation with Wadden Sea Secretariat and AEWA.

2.2 Support improved population delineation of Arctic-breeding waders by collating Arctic breeding wader migration data (tracking, colour-marking, geolocator, ringing data, etc.) and presenting it on the CSN tool to improve flyway delineation data.

AMBI Work Plan 2019-2025: African Eurasian Flyway2021
CBird: Seabird Expert Group1.6

Increase understanding of impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs), either through kittiwake food or direct contact with toxins associated with HABs.

1.6.1. Establish monitoring practices to track presence of HABs in marine environments and prey used by kittiwake. Conduct tests to determine dose levels of HABs toxins that affect kittiwake behavior or health, using proxy species where applicable. Work to reduce sources of HABs, such as nearshore development or discharge.

International Black-legged Kittiwake - Conservation Strategy and Action Plan2021
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Indigenous Knowledge: The CBMP Terrestrial Plan aims to utilize both Indigenous Knowledge and science. Despite efforts, Indigenous Knowledge has not been systematically included in the START. To obtain a full assessment of the status and trends, better understand relationships and changes, and fill key knowledge gaps, there must be improved engagement with Indigenous Knowledge holders, Indigenous governments, and Indigenous monitoring programs not only in development of assessments but in collaboratively building more comprehensive monitoring programs and initiatives.

  • Improve understanding of the research and monitoring priorities of PPs and Indigenous governments, organizations, and Peoples.
  • Develop long-term partnerships between scientists and Indigenous Knowledge holders to co-develop mutually relevant research and monitoring priorities and programs with equitable participation in all stages of monitoring, beginning with research design, and continuing through implementation, analysis, interpretation, and communication of results.
  • Seek guidance on how institutional resources can align with and support existing Indigenous-led monitoring efforts, the development of new Indigenous-led monitoring programs, and Indigenous models of land stewardship that include monitoring components.
  • Consider and articulate the ways in which programs and findings can support Indigenous land stewardship.
  • Support Indigenous-led monitoring capacity through investments in northern-based research, learning and digital infrastructure and by supporting education, employment, and leadership opportunities for Indigenous Peoples.
  • Ensure monitoring agreements detail mechanisms for the protection and responsible use of data and Indigenous Knowledge, including basic principles of data sovereignty.
  • Increase engagement of Indigenous Peoples within CBMP.
  • Work with PPs to develop strategies to more effectively recognize and reflect Indigenous Knowledge in the CBMP.
State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2021
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Knowledge Gaps : Currently, there is some monitoring for all FECs, but it varies in coverage, duration, frequency and access to institutional support and resources.

  • Expand and coordinate long-term in situ time series across regions and across FECs.
  • Implement ecosystem-based approaches that better monitor and link biological attributes to environmental drivers.
  • Increase partnerships with Indigenous Knowledge holders and organizations.
  • Increase and support contributions from Local Knowledge holders and citizen science.
  • Work with Arctic Council Observer states to collect and compile knowledge on Arctic biodiversity.
  • Improve data collection on rare species and species of concern.
State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2021
CBMP Marine Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Knowledge gaps: Filling gaps in knowledge helps us better understand key elements and functions of the ecosystem that can help explain change and understand the system:

  • Encourage the monitoring of relevant physical parameters alongside some FECs that are particularly sensitive to their effects, including sea ice biota and plankton.
  • Expand monitoring programs to include important taxonomic groups and key ecosystem functions. These gaps are likely due to logistical challenges or lack of expertise in specific fields.
  • Expand monitoring programs to include those utilizing both TK and science, involvement of Indigenous organizations and build capacity to provide a co-production of knowledge platform.
State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2017
Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Arctic MiningAdvice

Lack of alignment among government agencies in regard to environmental permitting, particularly environmental review requirements. Local, state/territory and national permitting requirements can be perceived by industry to be arduous, repetitive and/or misaligned causing unnecessary burdens that do not clearly translate into useful information or benefits for biodiversity conservation or sustainable development. For example, excessive data collection and reporting requirements without strategic coordination and partnering that could benefit government agencies, industry and the public. This can lead to separate government agencies asking for the same information in different ways or seeking extraneous information that does not help inform decision-making, resulting in unnecessary time and resources expended.

Government agencies could:

  • Engage with industry as early as possible, outside of the permitting process, with the caveat that conflict of interest can be an issue during permitting so relevant laws and policies must be adhered to (Box 1).
  • Align/organize internally and among different government entities who may need to be involved in particular projects and the permitting process. This alignment should happen from the outset of a project or permitting process to identify ways to streamline permit requirements without compromising the quality or integrity of the process or outputs.

Mining industry could:

  • Engage with permitting agencies early regarding all aspects of the proposed project, including by offering ideas for how to streamline the permitting process while still delivering the necessary inputs.
  • Ensure there is regular and meaningful communication with government agencies.

CAFF could:

  • Share and gather information and report on good practices in environmental assessment/permitting and share broadly with Arctic States, industry and others.
  • Continue to facilitate dialogue and information sharing among industry and government agencies regarding mainstreaming of biodiversity as a way to build common understanding and establish enduring relationships.
Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Arctic Mining Challenges and Proposed Solutions2019
CBird: Seabird Expert Group2.3

Limit human disturbance to a level that does not decrease breeding success.

2.3.1. Identify significant risks of disturbance activities and sensitive locations.

2.3.2. Develop guidelines (codes-of-conduct) for potentially harmful organized activities near colonies e.g. tourism, research (all fields), harvest, air- and ship traffic as well as individual activities such as kayaking, fishing etc.

2.3.3. Introduce area restrictions for high risk activities and promote regulations in adequate formats.

2.3.4. Improve and standardize methods for Environmental Impact Assessments.

2.3.5. Increase the knowledge on impacts of marine installations on seabirds (noise, light, pollution etc.).

2.3.6. Execute spatial planning and environmental assessments taking seabird management priorities into account.

2.3.7. Create no-conflict artificial nesting sites in locations where kittiwakes have moved into human settlements.

International Black-legged Kittiwake - Conservation Strategy and Action Plan2021
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Local Knowledge and Citizen Science: Local Knowledge exists on a spectrum from long-term, place-based experiential knowledge held by local residents, including harvesters, to knowledge of more recent residents. As such, monitoring efforts to work with Local Knowledge must interact with a wide range of diverse knowledge holders.

  • Dedicate more time to collaboration with Local Knowledge holders in monitoring design, analysis and interpretation.
  • Encourage and support citizen science platforms that engage Arctic residents, as well as visitors. Platforms should reflect strong scientific goals, have transparent methods for evaluating data quality, build communities of observers, engage a strong volunteer base, and devote consistent efforts to communicating results.
  • Identify and collaborate across existing platforms to increase awareness and participation in citizen science and consider new approaches to address knowledge gaps.
  • Invest in digital infrastructure as a prerequisite for fully accessible platforms to inform biodiversity monitoring.
State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2021
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Mammals: The START reports on half of mammal FECs including large herbivores (caribou/reindeer, muskoxen), small herbivores (lemming), and medium-sized predators (Arctic fox). Data deficiencies prohibited reporting on medium-sized herbivores, and large and small predators.

  • Develop synchronized protocols that include more attributes and reduce geographical knowledge gaps.
  • Establish or expand international monitoring networks for medium-sized herbivores and large and small carnivores.
  • Emphasize spatial structure and diversity in monitoring efforts due to the northward advance of southern competitors and vegetation changes.
  • For large herbivore, small herbivore, and medium-sized predator FECs:
  • Agree on priorities and harmonize data collection across sites and programs;
  • Share and standardize protocols, in cooperation with relevant partners including Indigenous Peoples and organizations, to include abundance, demographics, spatial structure, health, phenology and, for harvested species, harvest rates; and
  • Ensure monitoring programs employ existing methods with new harmonized methods to allow data comparisons.
  • Monitor health as an attribute and develop standardized health assessment protocols due to the anticipated impact of climate change on distribution and prevalence of disease.
  • Monitor abiotic factors and drivers of change, across greater spatial distributions to assess the cumulative impacts of climate and other anthropogenic change on populations across their ranges.
  • Conduct research on the vulnerabilities of populations to climate change and human impacts, and on genetic diversity and spatial structure of FECs.
  • Increase collaboration using interdisciplinary and multi-knowledge approaches to share site- and population-specific information. This can improve monitoring and lead to better models to assess the vulnerabilities and resilience of specific populations.
  • Address challenges in assessing abundance of FECs across the Arctic, including:
  • reliability of abundance estimates, such as lack of precision and accuracy;
  • changing baselines, such as changes in species distribution, sampling methodology, and areas monitored; and
  • differences in frequency and spatial extent of monitoring.
State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2021
CBMP Marine Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Marine fishes

  • Conduct pan-Arctic taxonomic analyses to clarify zoogeographic patterns that are important for detecting and understanding change.
  • Establish and conduct a monitoring plan that is independent of fisheries-related programs to assess changes in fish abundance and distributions. Use information from non-commercial fish species caught in groundfish surveys to provide a first step in this direction.
  • Use information from TK holders for monitoring marine fishes.
  • Connect monitoring initiatives across scales.
  • Conduct laboratory studies to examine the possible effects of abiotic and biotic changes (e.g. temperature, salinity, acidity and diseases) on fish species
  • Ensure that data on fisheries (commercial as well as artisanal) are accurate and registered in catch databases (such as the Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations). Information from logbooks is also relevant as it can be used to estimate the bycatch and the effects of fisheries.
State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2017
CBMP Marine Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Marine mammals

  • Implement existing international monitoring plans such as those for ringed seals and polar bear, with adaptive management principles to address the eleven FEC marine mammal species.
  • Expand marine mammal monitoring efforts to include parameters on health, passive acoustics, habitat changes, and telemetry tracking studies.
  • Obtain more knowledge about population sizes, densities, and distributions of marine mammal populations in order to understand the relationships between sea ice loss and climate change and to manage Arctic marine mammal populations in an appropriate manner.
  • Involve indigenous and local peoples in the design and implementation of monitoring programs so that scientific knowledge and TLK holders are working collaboratively.
  • Pursue a multidisciplinary and multi-knowledge approach and a high degree of collaboration across borders and between researchers, local communities and Arctic governments to better understand complex spatial-temporal shifts in drivers, ecological changes and animal health.
State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2017
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Methods : Increased attention to methodology facilitates more precise and comparable results, standardized data collection, and ability to link regional monitoring to circumpolar efforts.

  • Standardize how data is collected, managed, and reported, including field and sampling protocols, data collection methods, terminology, database harmonization and management, tools for data archiving and specimen libraries, including identification and curation.
  • Create a harmonized, accessible, and long-term taxonomic framework for Arctic monitoring.
  • Complete baseline studies and structured inventories to improve circumpolar data across FECs.
  • Promote multi-species studies and long-term time series data.
State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2021
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)Action2

Mitigate effects of over-abundant white geese populations on shorebird habitat

2.1 Implement management actions resulting from study of white geese impacts in Canada (undertaken as part of AMBI Phase 1)

AMBI Work Plan 2019-2025: Americas Flyway2021
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)Action6

Mitigate habitat impairment from destruction and degradation of coastal habitats and productive landscapes

6.1 Evaluate the impacts of habitat loss and degradation from agriculture, aquaculture, renewable energy production and tourism development on shorebirds and their habitats in Latin America

6.2 Ensure mitigation measures are incorporated into development decisions

6.3 Designate important sites under appropriate international conservation frameworks (e.g. Ramsar Convention, WHSRN, World Heritage)

6.4 Work with communities and governments to protect important sites

AMBI Work Plan 2019-2025: Americas Flyway2021
CBird: Seabird Expert Group1.9

Monitor occurrence ofdiseases in seabird populations.

1.9.1. Monitor bird flu and other diseases and minimize their impacts.

International Black-legged Kittiwake - Conservation Strategy and Action Plan2021
CBMP Freshwater Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Monitoring Design and Assessment

  • Establish a circumpolar monitoring network based on a hub-and-spoke model in remote areas.
  • Increase focus on the response of biotic communities to environmental changes by designing monitoring to address impact hypotheses developed in the CBMP-Freshwater Plan.
  • Ensure that the CBMP Freshwater group continues to serve as the focal point for the development and implementation of Arctic, freshwater biodiversity monitoring.
  • Provide resources to maintain and build the CBMP freshwater database for future assessments in order to maximize the benefits of this database.
  • Efforts should be made to document and preserve data from short-term research projects, research expeditions, industrial, university and government programs and to make these data accessible to the public.
  • Status assessments of Arctic lakes and rivers must explore the close association of biodiversity with spatial patterns of physical and chemical quality of aquatic habitats that can drive biological systems.
  • CBMP-Freshwater database allows the identification of predominant sampling approaches across the Arctic and should be used to inform the development of harmonized monitoring approaches.
  • Where valuable long-term data series exist, these should be given high priority in monitoring programs, to continue to provide data for the detection of long-term trends and changes in biodiversity.
State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2016
CBMP Freshwater Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Monitoring Methods

  • Harmonize sampling approaches among countries and select appropriate sampling methods andequipment to balance between maintaining consistency and comparability with historical data andalignment with common methods used across the Arctic.
  • Use a regionalized approach based on ecoregions to guide the spatial distribution of sample stations and, ultimately, provide better assessments.
  • Ensure spatial coverage of sampled ecoregions is sufficient to address the overarching monitoring questions of the CBMP across the Arctic and provide sufficient replication.
  • Maintain time series at key locations, and fill gaps where monitoring data are sparse.
  • Develop supplementary monitoring methods that provide better standardized estimates of biodiversity to maximize the likelihood of detecting new and/or invasive species.
  • Make use of recent advances in emerging technologies, including environmental DNA (eDNA) methods and remote sensing approaches.
  • Standardize data storage practices and provide access through a common data source like GBIF.
State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2016
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