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The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment explores the future of Arctic ecosystems

The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council, released the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) at the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting 15 May 2013. This report, informed by traditional ecological knowledge, contains the best available science on the status and trends of Arctic biodiversity informed by traditional knowledge as well as policy recommendations for biodiversity conservation.

The assessment explores the potentially dramatic consequences of climate change and other factors that adversely affect species and their habitats in the Arctic.

The key findings of the ABA deal with:

• the significance of climate change as the most serious underlying driver of overall change in biodiversity

• the necessity of taking an ecosystem-based approach to management

• the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity by making it integral to other policy fields, for example, in development, plans and operations.

Identifying and safeguarding important areas for biodiversity, addressing individual stressors on biodiversity and improving knowledge and public awareness

Arctic biodiversity is being degraded, but decisive action taken now can help sustain the vast, relatively undisturbed ecosystems of tundra, mountains, fresh water and seas and the valuable services they provide, the report says. This globally unique opportunity for proactive action can minimize or prevent problems that would be costly or impossible to reverse in the future.

Read the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment report here

Watch a film based on the report here