e-CBMP Newsletter
Summer 2011 
CBMP composite

Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program            Volume 4 Issue 2 

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In This Issue
Letter From the Chair
CBMP News & Updates
Events & Initiatives
Partner News
New Resources

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TopFrom the Chair
Dear Friends,


The Arctic's size and extreme and remote environment make it a challenging place to monitor environmental change.  Fortunately, the Arctic is home to many communities who maintain strong ties to the land - through long-held traditional practices such as harvesting and berry collecting to recreational pursuits to spiritual practices and customs.  These residents, who are present throughout all seasons, offer an opportunity to both detect change and offer insights into this change - whether it's part of a natural cycle or in response to new pressures. 



Arctic residents, in particular Indigenous peoples, offer an opportunity to improve our monitoring coverage and our understanding of environmental change - whether as 'human sensors' practicing citizen science methods, or through other innovative community-based monitoring techniques, such as employing resident survey methods to track change on an annual basis or through documenting and analyzing oral history to provide a longer-term perspective on changes in Arctic ecosystems.


This version of the CBMP's e-newsletter is dedicated to highlighting existing community-based monitoring programs in effect across the Arctic.  The Arctic, through the strength of its residents, is a global leader in community-based monitoring and some of the program's highlighted in this newsletter are testament to that. 


This spring's e-newsletter also offers us an opportunity to highlight the launch of the CBMP's Community-based Monitoring Handbook.  The Handbook was created to serve as a guide for scientists, community-members, students, government officials and others on principles to consider when establishing a community-based monitoring program.  The approaches and concepts presented in the Handbook were developed as a result of surveys of eight existing community-based monitoring programs in the Arctic, including one from Australia.


Enjoy the Newsletter!


Mike Gill, Chair
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program


CBMP News and UpdatesTop1

 CBMHandbookCommunity Based Monitoring Handbook Released


Community based Monitoring Handbook cover

This Handbook is written to enhance the role of community based observations of current and emerging research projects in the Arctic. The main principles of Community Based Monitoring activities, such as inclusiveness, respect for and recognition of knowledge holder rights and beneficence remain the same across disciplines and geographical areas. Thus, this information could be easily applied to broader monitoring efforts and in non-arctic regions.


The opinions and recommendations offered in the Handbook are based mainly on the shared experience of eight Community Based Monitoring programs in North America, Scandinavia, Russia, and Australia. These projects' leaders kindly agreed to be interviewed and shared their thoughts about challenges and successes in their work. The reviewed projects were selected to represent the cultural and methodological diversity of community based monitoring programs. Relevant papers and the author's personal experience weighed in as well. Recommendations were compiled based on the analysis of this information.


This Handbook attempts to provide a broad assessment of community based monitoring. While it is not a comprehensive analysis, it explores the experiences of different community based monitoring programs in an effort to highlight the best and most successful practices of each. It is also designed for use as a framework for custom tailoring community based monitoring for a specific situation.


The Handbook is written for a diverse audience, including scientists, students, Arctic community residents, and government officials. It may help achieve the pursuit of knowledge with successful implementation of community based monitoring.  The handbook can be downloaded from the CBMP website at www.cbmp.is.


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  CBMPMarinePlanCBMP Marine Plan: Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan Released


Cover Shot of CBMP Marine Plan


CAFF's 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 implementation of this plan will begin in September with the convening of the CBMP-Marine Plan Implementation workshop in Vancouver, Canada. The plan can be downloaded at www.cbmp.is.


TEMGCBMP Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group: Activated


The CBMP's Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group, co-led by Denmark/Greenland and the United States, has been activated and started its work in May towards developing an Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Monitoring Plan.  A background paper will soon begin development and the first workshop will be held in Denmark in October, 2011.


FreshwaterEMGCBMP Freshwater Expert Monitoring Group: Progress Continues  


The CBMP's Freshwater Expert Monitoring Group, co-led by Canada and Sweden, continues its work towards developing an Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring Plan.  The first workshop was held in Uppsala, Sweden in November 2010 and the second workshop is planned for Fredericton, Canada in October 2011.


PolarBEarCBMP Pan-Arctic Polar Bear Monitoring Plan: Under Development


polar bear w cubsThe CBMP convened an international workshop February 19th to 21st in Edmonton, Canada, bringing together twenty-two scientists, managers and community experts from Russia, Norway, Canada, Greenland and the United States to discuss development of a pan-Arctic monitoring approach for Polar Bears.  The workshop focused on developing a coordinated and efficient pan-Arctic monitoring approach that would detect changes in polar bear populations across the Arctic.  The results of the workshop are being used to draft the monitoring plan (expected release September 2011).  The draft plan will undergo several review processes prior to adoption.


 PACBMP Arctic Protected Areas Monitoring Scheme: Under Development


The "CBMP: Circumpolar Protected Areas Monitoring Workshop" was held on March 28 - 30, 2011 in Girdwood (Alaska), United States. The goal of the workshop was (i) for selected protected area experts and practitioners to discuss relevant arctic protected areas issues and opportunities for coordinated approaches to biodiversity monitoring, (2) to review and provide opportunity for all Arctic Council country and Permanent Participants to share key monitoring considerations for the group to address; (3) and provide direction and enhancements to the draft protected area discussion paper in preparation for the development of an arctic protected area monitoring framework. 


The workshop gathered over 25 participants from all the Arctic Council member countries with particular expertise in arctic protected areas management and biodiversity monitoring and data management. The workshop report will soon be available at www.cbmp.is.


Convention on Biological Diversity COP10 Decision Highlights the CBMP


The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) was convened in Nagoya, Japan in October 2011.  In recognition of the CBMP's growing role, capacity and expertise in tracking pan-Arctic biodiversity status and trends, the CBD COP's Decision X/13 states:


"The Conference of the Parties invites the Arctic Council to provide relevant information and assessments of Arctic biodiversity, in particular information generated through the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) of the Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group, for consideration by the Subsidiary of the Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice."

Events & Initiatives 
  • CBD Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group Meeting, June 20 to 24th, 2011, High Wycombe, United Kingdom
  • 13th Arctic Ungulate Conference, August 22nd to 26th, 2011, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
  • CBMP Marine Plan Implementation Workshop, September 14th and 15th, 2011, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • CBMP Freshwater Expert Monitoring Group 2nd Workshop, 1st week of October, 2011, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
  • CBMP Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group 1st Workshop, October 11 to 13th, 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark

Partner News.........................................................................................................................  

 Community-based Monitoring of a Major Sub-Arctic Salmon River


Icha river laksThe River Teno is a large border river between northernmost Finland and Norway, where joint research and monitoring programs on Atlantic salmon are based on bilateral agreements. Monitoring programs form the basis for bilateral management of this valuable natural resource, which is important for the indigenous Sami people and their culture in the area. The long-term monitoring program for Atlantic salmon populations of the Teno system combine traditional, local knowledge and modern scientific tools.


Salmon catch statistics form a corner stone of the monitoring, comprising information from a variety of fisheries, both traditional and recreational, and from different parts of the large system. Local fishers are an essential source of information on their catches through systematic collection of catch reports. Another central data source is catch samples, collected from all fisheries, totaling thousands of adult salmon scale samples annually. This network of c.80 trained local fishermen is spread throughout the river system, in both countries. Their role in providing invaluable biological material for e.g. age determination, genetic and stable isotope analyses is crucial in enabling such massive data collection in the long term, currently c. 40 years. As the modern research tools in genetics and other molecular methods evolve, the long-term tissue archive has ever increasing value.


Maija Lšnsman1, Jaakko Erkinaro1, Eero Niemelš1, Bente Christiansen2


1Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Utsjoki, Finland

2 Office of County Governor in Finnmark, VadsÝ, Norway

Opening Doors to Native Knowledge


Greenland is testing the use of locally-based monitoring of living resources as a tool for improving Arctic resource management. The program is establishing and testing locally-based monitoring of resources in three communities in Disko Bay and Uummannaq, Qaasuitsup. The project outcomes include improved capacity and opportunities for the communities in terms of monitoring and managing resources within sustainable limits, as well as, a general improvement in communication and understanding between users and natural resource managers at a higher level.


Experiences from this pilot project will be analyzed and disseminated amongst Arctic decision-makers, scientists and managers. The initiative benefits from valuable lessons involving local hunters in monitoring the populations of eider and caribou. The project is contributing to the implementation of the Arctic Council's strategy on community-based resource monitoring (CAFF/2008).  More information on this program can be found at: http://www.pisuna.org. Also of interest is a resource website www.monitoringmatters.org

Nunavut General Monitoring Plan(NGMP): An Overview

September 2010


Article 12.7.6 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) in Canada requires that government and the Nunavut Planning Commission cooperate to develop and implement a plan for monitoring the current and cumulative long-term environmental impacts of development in Nunavut. This plan is referred to as the Nunavut General Monitoring Plan (NGMP).


NGMP will provide for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information regarding the state and health of the eco-systemic and socio-economic environment in the Nunavut Settlement Area.  NGMP will contribute towards the establishment of baseline data and the continued collection of data required to monitor environmental changes over time.


NGMP is a partnership governed by the NGMP Steering Committee which is composed of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), the Government of Nunavut (GN), the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada/Government of Canada (INAC/GoC). The NGMP Steering Committee is supported by the NGMP Secretariat.  The NGMP Secretariat is currently being established.


The NGMP governance structure also includes a Partner Advisory Group and Expert Advisory Teams.    


The collection of information for NGMP will be driven by a set of key questions and priorities. The NGMP Steering Committee will develop the key questions in consultation with their constituencies, the Partner Advisory Group, and Expert Advisory Teams.


For further information, please contact:

Seth J. Reinhart

Manager, Nunavut General Monitoring Plan

NGMP Secretariat

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Email: Seth Reinhart Email

Tel: 867-975-4667

Fax: 867-9754585

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 Ecology of Ringed Seals in Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin


During the last 40 years, the Hudson Bay ecosystem has experienced major climatic changes that have affected ice-dependent Arctic species.  


Because of their position near the top of the Arctic food web and their dependence on sea-ice for reproduction and survival, ringed seals (Phoca hispida) are expected to be good indicators of ecosystem change under current and predicted climatic trends, particularly in Hudson Bay where they occur near the southern limit of their range.    


Group PictureSince 2003, we have been working with communities around Hudson Bay, Arviat and Sanikiluaq in particular, in organizing local collections of tissue samples from seals hunted for subsistence. Dedicated collectors work with hunters to provide samples used to assess reproduction, survival, and health of seals and track ecosystem changes. In addition, we have deployed satellite tracking instruments on 50+ ringed seals in Hudson Bay since 2006, and were able to follow their movements and diving behaviour.


This work allowed us to identify important areas that ringed seals rely on for their foraging and travelling activities, as well as to understand how they perform these activities in Hudson Bay. Help and knowledge from Inuit from the local communities of Sanikiluaq (Belcher Islands), Arviat (western Hudson Bay), and Igloolik (Foxe Basin) have been crucial for this project. As a result of our ongoing collaboration, Inuit from Sanikiluaq are now able to conduct field work operations independently, and have been doing so for the last two years. We look forward to building upon our community relationships to improve monitoring of the Hudson Bay ecosystem.    


For more information visit: Ringed Seal Project in Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin


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 The Biodiversity Crisis - A New Video Project


At the start of the international conference on biodiversity in Japan (Convention on Biological Diversity,18-29 October 2010), freeeye.tv, in collaboration with the biologist Dr Bruno Walther launched the video project  Crisis of Life Website 


This educational non-profit video project, accompanied by texts and weblinks, hopes to inform about the 'crisis of life' itself.


The negative impacts of the biodiversity crisis on our quality of life will only increase unless the sustainable management of the planet's living resources becomes a global concern and leads to changes in policies and management on local, national and international levels.


Because this topic is still not receiving sufficient attention by the media, Dr Walther (Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute) and video journalist Klaus Bardenhagen interviewed several experts on biodiversity over the past two years, in which they talk about the threat to and the value of biodiversity, as well as possible solutions to the biodiversity crisis.


The consequences of continuing business-as-usual could be devastating, with species extinctions and ecosystem collapses on a global scale. To avoid such calamities, we need a new kind of global governance which maintains biodiversity and ecosystems as a global commons cared for by all of humanity.




Canada's NatureWatch is an Internet-based, national citizen-science ecosystem monitoring program which includes FrogWatch, PlantWatch, IceWatch and WormWatch. NatureWatch aims to enhance awareness and engagement in environmental issues among Canadians and collect standardized data on changes in key ecosystem phenomena in order to better inform ecosystem management. Participants visit the website to learn about the program and how to monitor, observe natural events following the recommended methods, then submit their data on-line. FrogWatch participants identify frogs and toads by sight or by their call while PlantWatchers track the bloom events of indicator species. IceWatch participants describe the dates inland lakes and rivers freeze and thaw while WormWatchers "flip and strip" soil to reveal and identify worms. Context specific materials have been developed to enhance participation in PlantWatch across the North and birch was added as an indicator species in the Northwest territories.  In addition, teacher's guides have been developed for the FrogWatch and PlantWatch programs with curriclum matches identified.  For more information and to get involved visit: www.naturewatch.ca 


Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge for the Arctic (ELOKA) 

Having an effective and appropriate means of recording, storing, and managing data and information is a key challenge of community-based ecological monitoring programs. Another challenge is to find an effective means of making such data available to Arctic residents and researchers, as well as other interested groups such as teachers, students, and decision makers. ELOKA facilitates the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and knowledge of the Arctic. ELOKA provides data management and user support, and fosters collaboration between resident Arctic experts and visiting researchers. By working together, Arctic residents and researchers can make significant contributions to understanding the Arctic and recent changes.


ELOKA Workshop Annoucement "Data Management and Local Knowledge: Building a Network to Support Community-Based Research and Monitoring" November 15, 16, 17, 2011; National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.


This year, ELOKA in conjunction with their partners CBMP and the Polar Data Catalogue, and the Arctic Council Permanent Participants are also exploring the idea of creating an arctic community based monitoring and or LTK registry. This registry would form the basis of identifying and discovering available monitoring and research programs that involve arctic people's knowledge without exchanging program data. This will increase the opportunities for local knowledge to be incorporated and inform northern land stewardship and influence decisions.


For more information visit our website at http://eloka-arctic.org 


Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Coop

The Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-operative monitors and assesses change in the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and adjacent Mackenzie Delta area in NWT, Yukon & Alaska. The 7 communities and various government partners collaborate to use Gwitch'in, Inuvialuit, and Inupiat based knowledge to monitor the environment.  Recently, the Coop has developed reports and videos communicating results of the long term monitoring program in Canada and the United States.

Aklavik results video 2011 http://www.taiga.net/coop/ABEK_March31_r2.wmv

Caribou results video 2010 http://www.taiga.net/coop/Nov_8_Caribou_Small.wmv

For more information see http://www.taiga.net/coop/

New Resources
TernThe Arctic Tern Migration Project website publishes research results of the first-ever scientific study to use tracking devices to follow a full annual cycle of Arctic tern migration. The site includes background information on the bird, the migration study along with maps and photos.