Hand holding algae sample

The peoples inhabiting the various regions of the Arctic spend vast amounts of time on the land and at sea. Drawing on personal experience, information shared with others, and knowledge handed down through the generations, residents of the Arctic are able to recognize subtle environmental changes and offer insights into their causes.

This traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), defined in Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010: Selected Indicators of Change as ‘the knowledge and values which have been acquired through experience, observation, from the land or from spiritual teachings, and handed down from one generation to another” is vital to form a more complete picture of the status and trends in Arctic biodiversity. The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) has undertaken a wide range of activities to facilitate and promote community based monitoring, especially through the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP).

The CBMP works with Indigenous organizations to understand, collect and integrate TEK and community based monitoring information into CAFF´s monitoring and assessment activities. This partnership allows all groups involved to use all available information, be it academic, indigenous, traditional or local, to improve collective understanding of ecological systems and how they interrelate with human societies. Learn more about CAFF and community based monitoring

Photo: Snow and ice algae by Ekaterina Chistikova