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    New monitoring plan aims to protect Arctic biodiversity

    The Plan will provide the framework for long-term monitoring
    efforts in the Arctic.
    By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer
    As a part of a large international effort in Arctic biodiversity monitoring, Queen’s researcher, Gabriela Ibarguchi, recently coauthored a plan to address the need for standardized monitoring of the Arctic’s environments.
    This new Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Monitoring Plan is an important component of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP). Biodiversity Monitoring is part of the mandate of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council.
    “With 24 international researchers as coauthors, the support of over 80 reviewers, and the approval of government ministers and leaders in all eight circumpolar nations in the Arctic Council, the Plan will serve as the framework to guide harmonized, long-term terrestrial biodiversity monitoring efforts in the Arctic,” says Dr. Ibarguchi.
    The Plan, released in October, will help uncover baseline information for each area; link up networks of Arctic researchers across the world; provide more standardised monitoring frameworks; assist in the identification of knowledge gaps; and propose data-sharing platforms as part of the implementation so that everyone is able to access the same information.  
    Canada has also been chairing the Arctic Council since May of this year. Council countries include Russia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Canada, the USA, and Denmark (Greenland and Faraoe Islands). Each of these countries includes the Arctic within its borders. Arctic Peoples are Permanent Participants in the Council.
    The data released in the plan is open -access. It’s hoped that many people such as researchers, managers, policy makers, and community members will be able to use the data and help with improving our knowledge and contributing to monitoring the changing Arctic. 
    “We’re hoping that if it’s decided that we must mine the resources in the Arctic then hopefully we can empower governments to work with scientists, communities, and industry in order to learn more about the environment and in doing so, protect it,” says Dr. Ibarguchi.  “We’re a small population in Canada but we’re trying to do a lot. The Arctic is a big part of our backyard.”