By Courtney Price

May 8, 2019

CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program has released its State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Report.

Arctic lakes and rivers losing the ability to sustain current level and diversity of Arctic freshwater species: new report

Increased warming pushing freshwater ecosystems to the brink

Rovaniemi, Finland—Climate change and development threaten the health of Arctic freshwater ecosystems, with continued warming pushing cold-water species unique to the Arctic—such as the Arctic char—to the brink of regional loss, and increasing the likelihood of toxic cyanobacteria blooms, says the State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Report released today.

According to the report produced by experts from the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), warming is reducing what can be considered as Arctic, with southern species moving northward, and cold tolerant species facing possible local extinction when they can’t adapt or compete for resources.

The report provides a circumpolar synthesis of the state of knowledge about biodiversity in Arctic lakes, rivers, and associated wetlands. It identifies changes and knowledge gaps in fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, zooplankton, algae, and macrophytes, and can provide insights into the overall health of freshwater ecosystems and their ability to provide essential services on which people rely. For the first time, experts have compiled a circumpolar database on freshwater biodiversity to keep knowledge easily updated and available. When possible, data will be made accessible on the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service.

The report also identifies Arctic countries’ efforts and gaps in monitoring key elements of Arctic ecosystems, highlighting what countries can do to improve the ability to detect and report on significant changes in the Arctic.

Specifically, the report calls for better coordination, standardization of methods, increased use of emerging technologies (such as remote sensing and DNA barcoding), improved consideration of Traditional Knowledge and Local Knowledge, better engagement with local and Indigenous communities, and a commitment to support continued development and maintenance of the CBMP.

Relevant materials below:

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the report. Congratulations to the CBMP Freshwater Steering Group and all the authors and contributors.

State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Report
State of the Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Report released

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