Conservation in the Arctic:
The Arctic is changing rapidly. The individual and combined effects of climate change and industrial development create a new quality of pressures affecting the Arctic environment, including the people depending on it.
The situation poses unprecedented challenges for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. Worldwide, conservation is grappling with ways to accommodate rapid change and to find a sustainable balance between needs for protection, use and development.
In few places is this challenge more fundamental than in the Arctic where soon and pervasively ice will turn to water, boreal species will replace Arctic ones, local subsistence economies will be replaced by the global cash economy, and pristine places will see industrial development and increasing human activities. While these changes are already felt at many places, the Arctic is still a place of widely intact environments, vast natural spaces and a unique biodiversity.
It is also a place with established and functioning governance, international cooperation, and of cultures that don’t separate between human wellbeing and a healthy environment. Conservation in the Arctic, therefore, has a sound platform to build on, expand and transform to meet the challenges of rapid change and industrial development.
This section presents some of the ways that conservation is taking along this road and also discusses further steps deemed necessary for conservation in the Arctic of the 21st century.