Greenland's biodiversity (animals and plants) is an essential element of the population's livelihoods, and biodiversity is therefore irreplaceable culturally, economically and biologically.
The Arctic is
home to more than 21,000 known species of cold-adapted mammals, birds, fish,
invertebrates, plants and fungi, including lichen as well as tens of thousands
of species of microbes. These include iconic species such as polar bears, musk
ox, Greenland right whale, narwhal, walrus, reindeer, arctic char, ivory gull, arctic
fox, snow owl, and thousands of lesser known species. In addition to those
species, the Arctic also has a diversity of habitats, marine, freshwater as
well as habitats on land, such as expansive tundra, wetlands, mountains, large
banks in shallow waters, millennial glaciers, pack ice and large colonies of
birds along the mountainous coasts.
Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) started in 2013 and aims to summarize and
evaluate the status and trends regarding biodiversity in the Arctic. It charts
the current status and historical trends for the size and extent of the Arctic
species, and, where possible, forecasts for future changes. It provides an
urgent description of the state of Arctic biodiversity.
• Determines a benchmark for use in global and regional assessments of
Arctic biodiversity that will characterize and guide future work in the Arctic
• Collects updated knowledge from scientific publications, supplemented by
indigenous peoples’ insights.
• Identifies knowledge and data gaps.
• Describes the key mechanisms that cause changes.
• Presents scientifically-based proposals for dealing with the greatest
challenges facing arctic biodiversity.
The Ministry of
Nature and Environment is responsible for the dissemination of the results of the
ABA as well as a follow-up to the 17 political recommendations from the ABA
synthesis document to decision makers.
Read more about ABA: Scientific summary for the ABA and ABA Synthesis documents for decision makers.
What is biodiversity?
The United Nations Biodiversity Convention (CBD) defines biodiversity as "the variation of living organisms from all sources, including ecosystems by land and water as well as the ecological contexts they are part of; This includes diversity within the individual species, between different species and in ecosystems. "Biodiversity includes the vast amount of relatively unknown species, which there are many of in the Arctic, that together form the basis of food chains and ecosystems. The interaction between people and their surroundings is also an aspect of the diversity, vitality and sustainability of life on Earth.