As the Arctic continues to experience a period of intense and accelerating change it has become increasingly important to have better information on the status and trends of the Arctic environment.

Historically, monitoring practices in the Arctic have been largely fragmented and incomplete.

To address this shortcoming, the Arctic Council has increased long-term monitoring efforts and inventories to address key gaps in Arctic knowledge. These continuous efforts allow Arctic states to better facilitate the development and implementation of conservation and management strategies.

The 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) recommended that long term Arctic biodiversity monitoring be expanded and enhanced.

In response, two of the Council's working groups — the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) examined the report's findings and developed follow-up programs that address key projections for the future of the Arctic.

Featured projects

Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON)
SAON's vision is a connected, collaborative, and comprehensive long-term pan-Arctic Observing System that serves societal needs. SAON's mission is to facilitate, coordinate, and advocate for...
Project pageOverview
Plastic litter on an Arctic coast. Photo: iStock/sodar99
Arctic Marine Microplastics and Litter
AMAP is developing a monitoring plan for microplastics and litter in Arctic waters.
Overview
Murres on cliff. Photo: iStock
Coastal Biodiversity Monitoring
Arctic coastal ecosystems include those areas within the Arctic region where fjords, glaciers, rocky coasts, coastal wetlands, estuaries, rivers, lakes, and coastal ocean ecosystems meet and interact ...
Project pageOverview
Marine Biodiversity Monitoring
Arctic marine environments are experiencing, or expected to experience, many human-induced and natural pressures.
Project pageOverview
Water sampling in the Arctic. Photo: Steve Hillebrand/CAFF
Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring
Changes in water temperature, permafrost, ice cover extent and duration, hydrological processes and water balance can have unexpected and unpredictable effects on freshwater biodiversity and related e...
Project pageOverview
Photo: CAFF
Terrestrial Biodiversity Monitoring
Temperature can affect terrestrial ecosystems through thawing permafrost, snowmelt, drought, fires, changes in phenology (with subsequent implications on the food web), encroachment of invasive specie...
Project pageOverview
Photo: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)
The CBMP is an international network of scientists, governments, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic's living resourc...
Project pageOverview

CAFF monitoring publications

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AMAP monitoring and assessment publications

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Increased warming pushing Arctic freshwater ecosystems to the brink

The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group has released the first circumpolar assessment of freshwater biodiversity across the Arctic.
29 Sep 2019
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A closer look at sea ice: An interview with AMAP expert Sebastian Gerland

Sebastian Gerland is a geophysicist at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø. As a specialist for sea ice and climate, he has contributed to several projects and report...
23 Sep 2019

Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative: a global partnership for Arctic-breeding migratory birds

At the most recent Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting (Rovaniemi, 6-7 May 2019), the Ministers of the Arctic States approved the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s ...
23 Aug 2019
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