Project Type # Outcome Report Year FEC
Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA)Action4

Require the incorporation of biodiversity objectives and provisions into all Arctic Council work and encourage the same for on-going and future international standards, agreements, plans, operations and/or other tools specific to development in the Arctic. This should include, but not be restricted to, oil and gas development, shipping, fishing, tourism and mining.

4.1. Strengthen and develop new strategic partnerships, particularly with industry, to seek innovative solutions and expand responsibility for taking care of biodiversity.

4.2. Analyse the relationship between CAFF activities and international biodiversity objectives from relevant multilateral environmental agreements as a starting point for improved cooperation.

4.3. Develop a set of biodiversity principles for the Arctic Council, Observers, and stakeholders on incorporating biodiversity objectives and safeguards into their work, apply these principles to the activities of Arctic Council Working Groups and other Subsidiary Bodies, and evaluate the extent to which these activities respond to the ABA recommendations.

4.4. Develop, as needed, binding and/or voluntary agreements/standards that work towards the harmonization of industry-specific and cross-industry standards related to the conservation and/or sustainable use of biodiversity. This should considerhow to encourage the incorporation of biodiversity as a fundamental component of environmental and risk assessment work.

4.5. Provide information, expertise, and recommendations on conservation of Arctic ecosystems to policymakers.

4.6. Develop best practices for vessel-based Arctic marine tourism (Arctic Marine TourismProject- Best Practice Guidelines) (AMSA Recommendation IIIB).

4.7. Make monitoring and research results on species, including those relevant to maintaining and increasing resilience of biodiversity to climate change, accessible to all stakeholders, through the ABDS.

4.8. Strengthen collaboration with industry in Arctic biodiversity monitoring

Actions for Arctic Biodiversity, 2013-2021: Implementing the recommendations of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment2015
CBird: Seabird Expert GroupAction3.6

Research and monitoring:

22. Coordinate circumpolar murre population monitoring and store data in standardized databases.

23. Conduct research on population demography at circumpolar monitoring sites.

24. Develop a coordinated circumpolar murre banding program.

25. Monitor murre feeding ecology and food availability.

26. Monitor murre mortality due to oil pollution, commercial fisheries, and hunting.

27. Conduct research to develop techniques to reduce entrapment in fishing nets.

28. Develop management techniques to restore habitats and populations.

29. Consider the effects of global warming and local eutrophication on murre populations.

30. Assess the need to conduct research into the genetics of murre populations.

International Murre Conservation Strategy and Action Plan1996
CBMP Marine Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Sea ice biota

  • Establish an annual monitoring programme from land fast sea ice at selected Arctic field stations in Canada (Resolute, Cambridge Bay), Greenland (Kobbefjord, Disko Bay, Zackenberg), Norway (Kongsfjorden, Billefjorden, Van Mijenfjorden), and the U.S. (Barrow).
  • Establish a standardized monitoring protocol, including sample collection, preservation, microscopic and genetic analyses, taxonomic harmonization, and data sharing.
  • Establish opportunistic monitoring from drifting sea ice during cruises of opportunity.
  • Collect macrofauna samples in drifting sea ice via ship-based activities, scuba diving, electrical suction pumps, under-ice trawl nets, and remotely operated vehicles.
State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2017
CBMP Marine Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice


  • Develop methods for assessing diet to increase our understanding of changes in the ecosystem and how they affect seabird populations.
  • When selecting sites for new monitoring, consider proximity to hotspots for marine activities, access to the sea, and inclusion of plankton monitoring.
  • Expand colony-based monitoring and strive to include a more complete array of parameters, in particular, diet and measures of survival.
  • Consider a higher frequency of monitoring as current levels make it difficult to identify mechanisms or causes of change in populations.
  • Conduct targeted surveys and individual tracking studies of seabird interactions at sea to improve our understanding of seabird interactions at sea, where seabirds spend most of their time.
  • Continue to conduct at sea surveys on an opportunistic basis.
State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2017
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)Action2

Secure intertidal and associated habitat for AMBI priority species at key staging and wintering sites in the Central and East Asian Flyways.

2.1 (Russia): Ensure improvement of protection of the Russian Far East coastal shorebird stopover sites, by providing information to support local and national decision making on key habitat identification and conservation, including consideration of the new Nature Park in Chukotka and prioritising recovery of closed protected area at Moroshechnaya river mouth in Kamchatka.

2.2 (United States): Gather better information on the abundance, distribution and habitat use of Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwits at spring and fall staging sites in Alaska.

2.3 (China): Enhance protection of Jiangsu Coast ecosystem, especially the Rudong and Dongtai areas for Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other Arctic-breeding shorebirds considering World Heritage Site Nomination requirements.

2.4 (China): Enhance protection of the Luannan Coast especially Nanpu, Tangshan for Red Knot and other Arctic-breeding shorebirds.

2.5 (China): Enhance protection at Yalu Jiang, Liaoning for Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Great Knot and other Arctic shorebirds.

2.6 (China): Increase knowledge of key staging and wintering Arctic-breeding shorebirds sites in southern China (Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian provinces) and improve conservation status of these sites.

2.7 (Republic of Korea): Support efforts to reverse declining trends of AMBI priority species (SBS, Great Knot, Dunlin and other) and improve habitat conservation along the flyway through sharing knowledge and international cooperative projects.

2.8 (Republic of Korea): Promote the importance of conserving Korea.

AMBI Work Plan 2019-2025: Central and East Asian Flyways2021
CBird: Seabird Expert GroupAdvice

Setting priorities


  • Identify which actions are already being addressed, which actions deserve highest priority for new work, and which of these high priority actions require international collaboration.
  • Give high priority to actions likely to reveal the causes of Ivory Gull declines or to reverse such declines.
  • Among new work to be initiated under the Strategy, give high priority to helping establish international, national, or regional Ivory Gull monitoring programs.
International Ivory Gull Conservation Strategy and Action Plan2008
Resilience and Management of Arctic Wetlands (RAW)Key finding1.2.5

Suggestions for Wetlands Planning, Research, and Management.

  1. Document Indigenous wetland resource use to allow management authorities to make decisions that respect and accommodate Indigenous resource use by ensuring that subsistence activities are not unnecessarily impeded by management actions. Information may be collected on subsistence species, types of subsistence practices, levels of reliance, and legal access.
  2. Develop protected area participation plans to specify cooperative objectives, participating entities, and terms of evaluation so that management authorities can continue to engage Indigenous Peoples when experiencing turn-over.
  3. Broaden wetland research priorities to further the goals of biodiversity conservation and Arctic food security by (1) conducting research with Indigenous knowledge holders on wetland ecosystems, (2) examining the intersection of wetland biodiversity and Arctic food security, and (3) prioritizing species of both conservation and subsistence interest.
  4. Support community-based wetlands monitoring to help researchers and managers partner with Indigenous knowledge holders, identify ecosystem services, monitor for rapid environmental change, support year round sampling, support collection of current and historic observational information, and reinforce results from scientific studies.
  5. Connect beyond wetlands so as to explore the interactions between and beyond inland and coastal wetlands and examine opportunities between CAFF projects such as RMAWI, the Salmon Peoples of the Arctic, the Seabird Working Group, and the Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative to further facilitate research on Indigenous relationships with Arctic biodiversity.
  6. Foster engagement in wetlands management productively by (1) approaching Indigenous participation as an opportunity, (2) seeking to build partnerships with Indigenous governments, organizations, and communities, (3) engaging Indigenous leadership and communities at the beginning of the process, and (4) welcoming elders to participate while actively recruiting Indigenous youth to contribute to management and conservation decisions.
Arctic Wetlands and Indigenous Peoples Study: An assessment of Indigenous engagement in wetland protected areas2021
Resilience and Management of Arctic Wetlands (RAW)Advice4

Supporting Indigenous Community-Based Monitoring: Supporting community-based monitoring as an approach to active participation in biodiversity research and management of protected area is beneficial for conservation efforts.

Arctic Wetlands and Indigenous Peoples Study: An assessment of Indigenous engagement in wetland protected areas2021
Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI)Key finding1

The Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI): 2011 update.

1.1 Average abundance of Arctic vertebrates increased from 1970 until 1990 then remained fairly stable through 2007, as measured by the ASTI 2011.

1.2 When species abundance is grouped by broad ecozones, a different picture emerges, with low Arctic species abundance increasing in the first two decades much more than high Arctic and sub Arctic species abundance. The low Arctic index has stabilized since the mid-1990s while the high Arctic index appears to be recovering in recent years and the sub Arctic index has been declining since a peak in the mid-1980s.

1.3 The trend for Arctic marine species is similar to that of the overall ASTI, while the trend for terrestrial species shows a quite different pattern: a steady decline after the early 1990s to a level below the 1970 baseline by 2005.

The Arctic Species Trend Index 2011: Key findings from an in-depth look at marine species and development of spatial analysis techniques2012
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)2

The CBMP is an adaptive, integrated monitoring program that provides timely information about status, trends, and changes in Arctic biodiversity and ecosystems.

Objective 2.1: Integrate lessons learned and advice for monitoring outlined in the SABRs into next steps of CBMP.

  • Activity 1: After completion of major products such as SABRs, CBMP will initiate a scoping process to evaluate and prioritize FECs as indicators of change. This process will use lessons learned and SABR key findings and advice and result in a revised monitoring plan or long-term implementation plan.
  • Activity 2: Review and consider lessons learned, when developing work plans.

Objective 2.2: Evaluate the effectiveness of existing and new methods and technologies as a tool to support biodiversity monitoring and assessment.

  • Activity 1: Continue to improve and update Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring Plans based upon the SABR advice and lessons learned.
  • Activity 2: Explore the use of remote sensing and e-DNA in CBMP activities.
  • Activity 3: Consider impacts of stressors and drivers, including cumulative impacts, within reviews of the Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring Plans.•Activity 4: Consider how to understand the impact and effect of extreme events (e.g., wildfires, invasive species, extreme weather events etc.) on biodiversity, within revisions of Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring Plans.

Objective 2.3: Identify expert networks relevant for CBMP.

  • Activity 1: Invite relevant networks to participate in the CBMP, including regional, Indigenous, and citizen science networks, e.g., eBird, iNaturalist.
  • Activity 2: Enhance engagement of experts from Observer states and organisations.

Objective 2.4: Increase access to Arctic biodiversity data.

  • Activity 1: Further develop interoperability of the ABDS with national and global data centres to facilitate access to existing and new data.
  • Activity 2: Continue to work with Steering Groups, Expert Networks, and partners (such as the Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure) to improve and consider issues of data access, visualization, metadata, comparison, and standardization.
  • Activity 3: Develop a data management manual describing the flow of data from the field to CAFF assessments, including the harmonization of data across sites and scales.
  • Activity 4: Increase the awareness of the ABDS amongst target audiences and other partners, including industry and other sectors.

Objective 2.5: Continue and strengthen cross-cutting activities among the CBMP Steering Groups.

  • Activity 1: Hold bi-monthly telephone meetings between CBMP Co-leads and CBMP Steering Group Co-Chairs align and coordinate activities between CBMP Steering Groups. In-person meetings will also be held in conjunction with CAFF Board meetings when possible.
  • Activity 2: Consider how to develop more targeted and integrated reporting
  • Activity 3: Initiate steps to integrate work between the four groups.
  • Activity 4: Design and develop a plan to include modelling and predictive science within CBMP, to be aligned with the 2023 CAFF Action Plan for Biodiversity.
  • Activity 5: Conduct a landscape analysis of existing synergies within CBMP and other CAFF initiatives, as well as Arctic Council working groups, including the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) and the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), to be aligned with the 2023 Action Plan for Biodiversity.

Objective 2.6: Via expert networks, develop user manuals and test implementation of CBMP Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring Plans in the field.

  • Activity 1: CBMP Terrestrial and Freshwater Groups will, together with the CAFF Secretariat and the CBMP Co-leads, continue to work on best practices for field trials on selected FECs and, as resources allow, produce site-specific user manuals at selected stations.
  • Activity 2: CBMP Marine and Coastal Group will together with the CBMP co-leads consider how to replicate Activity 1 and/or implement these approaches into the Marine and Coastal Monitoring Plans.
  • Activity 3: The CAFF Secretariat will, through the CAFF webpage and the ABDS, publish recommended methods and link to internationally agreed-upon standardized monitoring methods to implement CBMP monitoring at monitoring stations.
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program Strategic Plan: 2021-20252021
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)3

The CBMP is sustainable and its organizational structure facilitates achievement of its goals.

Objective 3.1: Program coordination and organization is sustainable.

  • Activity 1: Improve capacity related to CBMP core functions and implementation through cost sharing methods.
  • Activity 2: Ensure that each Steering Group continues to have a designated Coordinator to help with coordination and key deliverables.
  • Activity 3: Sustain Steering Group structure including coordination or other needed support for each group, and ensure clear and timely scheduling of meetings, agendas, notes, etc.
  • Activity 4: Align future production of Steering Group workplans in a similar format to facilitate integration efforts.
  • Activity 5: Each CBMP Steering Group will continue to produce annual progress reports and workplans to help track progress and define future tasks.
  • Activity 6: Facilitate that CBMP Steering Groups and Expert networks have the necessary participation as needed to implement CAFF Board-approved workplans.
  • Activity 7: Evaluation of the CBMP Strategic Plan is a standing item on the CAFF Board meeting agendas.

Objective 3.2: CBMP is sustainable through relevancy.

  • Activity 1: Conduct an evaluation, including a qualitative and where possible a quantitative evaluation on CBMP after further input from the CAFF Board.
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program Strategic Plan: 2021-20252021
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringKey finding

The most urgent priorities for the future are to

(i) improve our knowledge of population distributions to better inform our definitions of discrete flyway populations;

(ii) implement effective mechanisms to at least periodically measure abundance for all northern hemisphere goose populations to assess trends over time;

(iii) initiate research to identify factors responsible for declining trends in populations of concern, and

(iv) evaluate potential negative effects of overabundant goose populations on habitat and sympatric species.

A Global Audit of the Status and Trends of Arctic And Northern Hemisphere Goose Populations2018
Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI)Key finding2

Tracking trends in Arctic marine vertebrates.

2.1 The trend for marine fish is very similar to the trend for all marine species, increasing from 1970 to about 1990 and then levelling off. This indicates that the ASTI is strongly influenced by fish trends. Overall, marine mammals also increased, while marine birds showed less change.

2.2 The three ocean regions, Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic, differed significantly in average population trends with an overall decline in abundance in the Atlantic, a small average increase in the Arctic and a dramatic increase in the Pacific. These differences seem to be largely driven by variation in fish population abundance—there were no significant regional differences for birds or mammals.

2.3 Pelagic fish abundance appears to cycle on a time frame of about 10 years. These cycles showeda strong association with a large-scale climate oscillation.

2.4 The ASTI data set contains population trends for nine sea ice associated species. There were mixed trends among the 36 populations with just over half showing an overall decline.

2.5 The Bering Sea and Aleutian Island (BSAI) region of the Pacific Ocean is well studied, providing an opportunity to examine trends in more detail. Since 1970, BSAI marine fish and mammals showed overall increases, while marine birds declined. However, since the late 1980s, marine mammal abundance has declined while marine fish abundance has largely stabilized.

The Arctic Species Trend Index 2011: Key findings from an in-depth look at marine species and development of spatial analysis techniques2012
Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI)Key finding3

Tracking trends through space and time.

3.1 Spatial analysis of the full ASTI data set (1951 to 2010) started with an evaluation of vertebrate population trend data from around the Arctic. The maps produced from this analysis provide information useful for identifying gaps and setting priorities for biodiversity monitoring programs.

3.2 Mapping trends in vertebrate populations provides information on patterns of biodiversity change over space and time, especially when examined at regional scales.

3.3 Understanding of the causes of Arctic vertebrate population change can be improved by expanding the spatial analysis of ASTI data to include spatial data on variables that represent driversof biodiversity change.

The Arctic Species Trend Index 2011: Key findings from an in-depth look at marine species and development of spatial analysis techniques2012
CBMP Marine Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Traditional and Local Knowledge (TLK): Utilizing Traditional and Local Knowledge and involvement of TK holders allows for increased understanding of relationships and changes underway in Arctic ecosystems, current and historical trends, and serves to build valuable partnerships on the ground in Arctic communities.

  • Use Traditional and Local Knowledge within the design and implementation of monitoring plans. The Traditional and Local Knowledge of people living along and off the Arctic Ocean is an invaluable resource for understanding changes in Arctic marine ecosystems and its inclusion should be supported by national governments.
  • Increase engagement and partnerships with local residents and easy to access technology in monitoring programs. Indigenous communities are important ‘first responders’ to catastrophic events. More importantly, their knowledge systems provide a wealth of knowledge that should be involved in the analysis of collected data for increased understanding of current trends and filling historical gaps.
  • There is a need for TLK on a range of FECs and to engage networks of TLK holders and Indigenous organisations.
  • Use both TLK and scientific information on the analysis of harvest levels and status when evaluating overall population health and managing hunts.
State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2017
CBMP Freshwater Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Traditional Knowledge (TK)

  • Engage with Indigenous communities to work towards identifying and integrating their TK into efforts to assess Arctic freshwater biodiversity, including change over time.
  • Incorporate TK as an integral part of circumpolar monitoring and observational networks.
State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2016
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)Action1

Understand the expansion of white geese populations in Arctic shorebird habitat

1.1 Understand impacts of populations of white geese on other bird species in western Canada

1.2 Understand trends in the populations of white geese in Alaska and their impacts on shorebird breeding habitats

AMBI Work Plan 2019-2025: Americas Flyway2021
CBMP Terrestrial Biodiversity MonitoringAdvice

Vegetation : Monitoring of vegetation is inconsistent, with large gaps in geographical cover. Of the four FECs for monitoring vegetation, the START was able to report on all plants, species of concern, and invasive alien species. Food species were not included as data were too disparate.

  • Investigate causality in vegetation change in the context of ecosystem components, including habitat specific drivers, particularly climate, and emphasize ecosystem-based approaches.
  • Continue and expand in situ time series.
  • Utilize plot-based vegetation surveys to provide insight into vegetation changes and improve the ability to predict environmental change impacts on tundra ecosystems.
  • Better consider the expected impacts of biotic and abiotic drivers on vegetation change when developing monitoring programs and conceptual models.
  • Use regional and global remote-sensing products with higher spatial and temporal resolution.
  • Increase monitoring efforts for all FECs, and target efforts to address data gaps, such as for food species.
State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity: Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring2021
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)Action4

Work with partners to increase the number and quality of population estimates of Arctic-breeding waterbirds in the Central and East Asian Flyways

4.1 (All countries): Work with partners such as EAAF Partnership, Wetlands International and other partners to improve population estimates for AMBI priority species by supporting collation of up-to-date information on estimates and trends.

4.2 (All countries): Cooperate with partners such as the EAAF Partnership Waterbird Monitoring Task Force, Wetlands International, BirdLife International and the Global Flyway Network to strengthen monitoring of Arctic-breeding migratory waterbirds along the flyway, particularly in the Yellow Sea and Southeast Asia.

AMBI Work Plan 2019-2025: Central and East Asian Flyways2021
Resilience and Management of Arctic Wetlands (RAW)Key findingA considerable and broad experience with wetlands restoration and conservation dates back many decades. Expressed in an extensive body of publications by government agencies, practitioners’ organizations, trade organizations and consultancies, NGOs and scientists, a significant portion of this literature is Arctic-specific or Arctic relevant.Resilience and Management of Arctic Wetlands Phase 2 Report2021
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