Thursday, March 18, 2010

High Arctic Species Doing Poorly

While low Arctic and sub-Arctic wildlife has been doing rather well, high Arctic wildlife have been doing very poorly, according to the latest Arctic Species Trend Index. Overall there has been a 26% decline in high Arctic populations over the past few decades.
Populations of lemmings, caribou and red knot are some of the species that have experienced declines over the past 34 years, according to the first report from The Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI), which provides crucial information on how the Arctic's ecosystems and wildlife are responding to environmental change.

While some of these declines may be part of a natural cycle, there is concern that pressures such as climate change may be exacerbating natural cyclic declines....

Data collected on migratory Arctic shorebirds show that their numbers have also decreased. Further research is now needed to determine whether this is the result of changes in the Arctic or at other stopover sites on their migration.

Louise McRae adds: "Migratory Arctic species such as brent goose, dunlin and turnstone are regular visitors to the UK's shores. We need to sit up and take notice of what's happening in other parts of the world if we want to continue to experience a diversity of wildlife on our own doorstep."
The report was prepared as the Arctic Species Trend Index on the basis of about 1,000 datasets; the full report is available on the index website. The BBC has a photo gallery of some of the declining species.