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

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 resources.

Marine Biodiversity Monitoring

Arctic marine environments are experiencing, or expected to experience, many human-induced and natural pressures.
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The Arctic Wildland Fire Ecology Mapping and Monitoring Project (ArcticFIRE)

The project seeks to improve the understanding of fire ecology and impacts in Arctic States and to communities represented by the PPs, and to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildland fire. Main act...

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 coordinat...
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.
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 ...
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...
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...
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Circumpolar Wildland Fire

This project aims to improve the coordinated response by Arctic States and Permanent Participants in response to catastrophic wildland fires in the Arctic region, and to promote the possibility of int...
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Arctic Shipping Status Reports

The Arctic Shipping Status Report (ASSR) project‘s main objective is to utilize the ASTD System to develop a user-friendly, illustrative informational factsheets online to highlight important developm...

Arctic monitoring news

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Mercury from outside the Arctic is polluting the region

A look at current trends, concerns and future action
10 May 2021
iStock / Jean Landry

Navigating the future of Arctic shipping

What an increase in Arctic shipping means for the region
10 May 2021
Credit: Kari Mäenpää

Ten years of sustained Arctic observing

The Arctic is undergoing rapid change. In order to understand the effects on ecological and socio-economic systems, as well as to implement mitigation and adaptation meas...
10 May 2021
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