At the May 2013 Ministerial meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, the Arctic Council released the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) – a wide-ranging and detailed scientific report summarizing the present status and possible future trends for Arctic flora and fauna. This is the first time such an analysis has been made for the Arctic. The three books arising from the ABA are now available for public order through the ABA online store.

The principal conclusion of the ABA, produced by the Working Group CAFF, is that current, ongoing climate change constitutes the most serious threat to Arctic nature. Even though Arctic ecosystems and species are thought to be more resilient to climate variation than those ecosystems and species elsewhere in the world, anticipated Arctic climate change will probably exceed the capacity for some species to adapt. The report also concludes that some species, despite active management, suffer from great population reductions as a result of over-exploitation.

The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment:

  •  creates a baseline for use in global and regional assessments of Arctic biodiversity which will inform and guide future Arctic Council work;
  •  provides up-to-date knowledge gathered from scientific publications supplemented with insights from traditional knowledge holders;
  •  identifies gaps in the data record;
  •  describes key mechanisms driving change; and
  •  presents science-based suggestions for action on addressing major pressures on Arctic biodiversity.

The large-scale ABA involved more than 250 individuals from 15 countries as expert participants and contributors.

Descriptions of the three printed books now available are below.

(1) Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Status and trends in Arctic biodiversity

A comprehensive peer-reviewed scientific assessment report identifying status and trends in Arctic biodiversity. This report provides detailed scientific information informed by Traditional Ecological Knowledge and is geared towards researchers, scientists, students and managers who need in-depth information on Arctic biodiversity.

(2) Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Synthesis

A summary document of the main findings of the larger scientific assessment. It is designed for managers, practitioners, scientists, students and others working to understand and conserve Arctic biodiversity.

(3) Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for policy makers

A brief summary of the report as relevant for a policy and decision-making audience in government, industry and scientific circles. The document provides nine key findings and 17 policy recommendations.