IAB5: Transboundary management of Arctic biodiversity

Date: Thursday October 11, 2018

Location: Saivo, Lappia Hall

Time: 8:30-10:00

The ranges of migratory species, dispersal of persistent contaminants, movement of commerce, invasion of non-native species and impacts of development-decisions do not follow political boundaries. International cooperation is therefore increasingly essential to fully address the challenges facing Arctic biodiversity now and in the decades to come. This session provides some examples of approaches to transboundary cooperation to help safeguard habitat and protect species.

Chairs: Kristiina Nikkonen, Ministry of the Environment, Finland; Trish Hayes, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Format: Series of presentations followed by discussion

Presentations:

  • Intergovernmental cooperation safeguarding Arctic biodiversity: Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation since 1985: Aimo Saano, Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland / The Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation pdf
  • Transboundary cooperation between Norway, Russia and Finland in Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park: Riina Tervo, Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland pdf
  • The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative for connecting and inspiring people: Conservation of migratory birds from the Arctic to Africa on the East-Atlantic Flyway: Gregor Scheiffarth, Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority pdf
  • Trans-boundary management of Arctic fox: Tom Arnbom, WWF pdf
  • Industrial development in the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd in Alaska: At what cost? Craig Machtans, Environment and Climate Change Canada pdf
  • International Cooperation for Successful Conservation of Threatened Migratory Species in the Arctic and Beyond - the Story of the Lesser White-fronted Goose: Nina Mikander, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat pdf

 


Abstracts:

Intergovernmental cooperation safeguarding Arctic biodiversity: Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation since 1985

Aimo Saano, Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland / The Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation; Tapio Lindholm, Finnish Environment Institute / The Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation

The Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation (WGNC) promotes the establishment of protected areas and the conservation of endangered species and habitats in Finland and north-western Russia. WGNC has existed since 1985, currently mandated under the 1992 Finnish-Russian Intergovernmental Agreement on Protection of Environment. WGNC engages experts from scientific institutions, administrative bodies, NGOs and protected area managing organisations from the two countries. It initiates, organizes, assists, co-finances or takes part in Finnish-Russian nature conservation projects, seminars, expeditions, meetings both in Finland and in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, Republics of Komi and Karelia and the adjacent Leningrad and Vologda regions. Activities are prepared on bilateral basis, coordinated at regular meetings every second year. Over the years of cooperation numerous forests, mires, their complexes, alpine, coastal or archipelago areas have obtained their official name, status and borders as new protected areas, both in Finland and in north-west Russia. The new protected areas safeguard, piece by piece, the necessary continuum of boreal and alpine ecosystems from the Urals to the Norwegian coastline and from the Barents Sea to the Baltics and to the northernmost sources of river Volga.

 

Transboundary cooperation between Norway, Russia and Finland in Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park

Riina Tervo, Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland

This presentation addresses the theme of identifying and safeguarding important areas for biodiversity through international cooperation taking place on nature protection areas located in Norway, Russia and Finland. This international cooperation dates back to beginning of 1990s. Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park is an excellent example of transboundary nature protection cooperation on the operative level. The cooperation has been certified in EUROPARC’s Transboundary Parks -programme, which provides the international work with high-standards, criteria and tools for maintaining a long-lasting, high quality cooperation for management of nature protection areas. The key partners are managers of nature protection areas complemented with municipalities and regional governmental organisations. The specific characters of the Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park are based on the northernmost boreal pine forests, Lake Inarijärvi and the Pasvik River system. The Trilateral Park is a wilderness-like area close to national borders. The unique history of the area created by the connections between Sámi, Finnish, Russian and Norwegian cultures contribute to the richness of the area. Joint plan for research and monitoring of brown bear population has been developed. The bears have been monitored trilaterally every fourth year since 2007. Bear feaces and hair samples are collected for DNA-analyses at Nibio Svanhovd DNA-laboratory in Norway. The analyses make it possible to identify individual bears, get information about kinship between the bears and to get a more precise picture of the total bear population in the region.

 

The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative for connecting and inspiring people: Conservation of migratory birds from the Arctic to Africa on the East-Atlantic Flyway

Gregor Scheiffarth, Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority; Gerold Lüerßen, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat

The European Wadden Sea of The Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark is the most important stop-over site for migratory birds on the East-Atlantic Flyway between the Arctic and West-Africa. The site is of critical importance to the survival of migratory birds on a worldwide scale, which was one of the reasons for its nomination as a world heritage site. The three Wadden Sea countries have therefore taken responsibility to strengthen cooperation with other parties for the conservation of migratory birds, especially along the East-Atlantic Flyway. To this end, the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) was launched in 2012, to operate a network with the purpose of implementing flyway-wide monitoring of coastal birds, as well as building capacity in several African countries along the Atlantic coast. Further, the network strengthens regional cooperation between different parties involved in the conservation of these birds and collaborates with several international organisations acting in the same area, namely BirdLife International, Wetlands International, AEWA, and AMBI. The WSFI acts as an umbrella for many organisation active in the field of bird conservation along the East-Atlantic Flyway. Major achievements are a series of capacity building workshops along the East-Atlantic seaboard of Africa, enhancing collaboration between different parties in Africa, and the coordination of simultaneous counts of all key sites along the coast from Norway to South-Africa in 2014 and 2017. With these actions, the WSFI contributes to the reduction of stressors on migratory species range-wide, including habitat degradation and overharvesting on wintering and staging areas and along the flyway. Furthermore, the monitoring of arctic breeding birds in their wintering habitats increases the knowledge and understanding of trends in these species.

 

Trans-boundary management of Arctic fox

Tom Arnbom, World Wildlife Fund

The Arctic fox in Scandinavia drastically decreased in numbers due to over harvesting in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite strict protection for over 50 years, the population dwindled in the 1980s to about 30 individuals in Sweden. Factors responsible for this include the disappearance for almost 20 years of rodent (Scandinavian lemming) peaks, upon which Arctic foxes are heavily dependent for reproduction. On top of this, competition from the red fox increased due to climate change and less hunting effort towards red foxes. Since 2000, the lemming cycle has returned, with peaks every 3-4 years. Because the Scandinavian Arctic fox moves back and forth between Norway and Sweden and national management measures are relatively similar, the two governments have agreed on a joint trans-boundary management plan. The Interreg project Felles Fjellrev II is designed to enable collaboration between the two countries on conservation measures, science and communication for Arctic fox. The number of Arctic foxes in this sub-population has increased dramatically due to active conservation measures but also peaks of rodents which enable the them to have larger litter sizes. This project is a collaboration among many different partners including governmental authorities, scientific institutions and NGOs.

 

Industrial development in the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd in Alaska: At what cost?

Craig Machtans, Environment and Climate Change Canada; Basile van Havre, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Canada and the United States jointly manage a medium sized (population 218,000) barren ground caribou herd that annually ranges between northeastern Alaska and northern Yukon and western Northwest Territories. The herd tightly congregates for calving and post-calving on the coastal plain, usually in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge known as the “1002 lands”. The two countries signed a treaty in 1987 outlining the shared goal of conserving the herd and its habitat, minimizing irreversible damage or long term adverse effects to the caribou, and to ensure continued customary and traditional use of the herd by Indigenous people. Canada has permanently protected almost all of the areas used for calving in Canada, as well as protecting and managing other portions of the herd’s annual range and implementing a rigorous domestic management structure to ensure sustained use of the herd. In late 2017, after decades of attempts by right-leaning administrations, the United States codified in law the mandated sale of oil and gas leases in ~50% of the critical calving area in the 1002 lands. The Porcupine Caribou herd is the only large caribou herd in North America that is at high population levels and growing. The apparent success of the herd is tied to the herd’s access to a diverse range of habitats/conditions across all critical time windows, resulting in favorable cow and calf survival, but with relatively low productivity. Population modeling predicts that development in the 1002 lands will decrease calf survival and, given the relatively low productivity of the herd and lack of other high quality calving areas, could lead directly to population declines. Canadian governments and Indigenous organizations are united in their opposition to development in the 1002 lands. The herd is hugely significant for cultural, spiritual and subsistence reasons. This talk will describe how balancing the legitimate need for economic development with conservation under international treaty obligations may be difficult in this circumstance.

 

International Cooperation for Successful Conservation of Threatened Migratory Species in the Arctic and Beyond - the Story of the Lesser White-fronted Goose

Nina Mikander, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat

The globally threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose (LWfG) undertakes epic annual migrations from its Arctic breeding grounds to wintering areas stretching from south-eastern Europe to China. Following decades of severe declines due to overharvest and habitat loss, the species remains acutely at risk. But there is hope: conservation action for the LWfG is slowly bearing fruit within the African-Eurasian flyways. The decline of the species has been halted thanks to the efforts of an ever-expanding and dedicated network of governments, species’ experts, conservation organizations and practitioners, local communities and other stakeholders. By combining a wide range of approaches, such as combating illegal killing, identifying and protecting critical sites, implementing predator control, assessing climate change effects as well as carrying out education and awareness-raising action, we are turning the tide. LWfG conservation within the flyway is carried out under the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan and is coordinated by the AEWA LWfG International Working Group. These activities contribute directly to the implementation of the Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative (AMBI), in which the LWfG is prioritized as a flagship species. AMBI, in turn, is one of the key tools under CAFF delivering against policy recommendation 8 of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment.

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