Arctic Portal logo

The Arctic Gateway

Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan

Arctic biodiversity is under growing pressure from both climate change and resource development, requiring both managers and users to have access to more complete information to help them make timely and informed conservation and adaptation decisions.

Yet existing monitoring programs remain largely uncoordinated, limiting our ability to effectively monitor, understand and respond to biodiversity trends at the circumpolar scale. The maintenance of healthy Arctic ecosystems is a global imperative as the Arctic plays a critical role in the Earth's physical, chemical and biological balance. Maintaining the health of Arctic ecosystems is also of fundamental economic, cultural and spiritual importance to Arctic residents, many of whom maintain close ties to the land and sea.

The Arctic's size and complexity represents a significant challenge towards detecting and attributing changes in biodiversity. This demands an integrated, pan-Arctic, ecosystem-based approach that can effectively identify important trends in biodiversity and identify their underlying causes.

To meet these challenges, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) is working with partners across the Arctic to harmonize and enhance long-term Arctic biodiversity monitoring in order to facilitate more rapid detection, communication and response to significant trends and pressures. Towards this end, the CBMP is developing four, ecosystem-based Arctic biodiversity monitoring plans (Marine, Terrestrial, Freshwater and Coastal). These umbrella monitoring plans work with existing monitoring capacity to facilitate improved and cost-effective monitoring through enhanced integration and coordination.

The Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan (CBMP-Marine Plan) is the first of the CBMP's four pan-Arctic biodiversity monitoring plans. The overall goal of the CBMP-Marine Plan is to improve our ability to detect and understand the causes of long-term change in the composition, structure and function of arctic marine ecosystems, as well as to develop authoritative assessments of key elements of arctic marine biodiversity (e.g., key indicators, ecologically pivotal and/or other important taxa).

The CBMP-Marine Plan integrates existing marine biodiversity monitoring efforts (both traditional scientific and community-based) from across the Arctic and represents an agreement between six Arctic coastal nations and a great number of national, regional, Aboriginal and academic organizations and agencies in all six countries on how to monitor arctic marine ecosystems.

Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan Report

Practical information

Further information at
Contact: Tom Barry.