Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010


Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010

Indicator #21 PAGE 96

Changes in protected areas

Protected areas are a key element for maintaining and conserving both Arctic and global biodiversity, protecting important habitat for resident and migratory species. The first protected areas in the Arctic were established at the beginning of the 20th century although the area under protection remained low until the 1970s. The extent of the Arctic which is under some form of protected status doubled between 1991 and 2010, from 5.6% to 11%. There are now 1,127 protected areas covering 3.5 million km 2 of the Arctic. Climate change is a significant challenge to protected areas as a conservation tool because the features protected today may be altered or lost in the future. Implementing sound environmental conservation measures both within and beyond the boundaries of protected areas will be important to biodiversity conservation. This is particularly important in marine ecosystems where the level of protection is lower in comparison to terrestrial ecosystems.

Indicator #22 PAGE 99

Linguistic diversity

Much important traditional knowledge of biodiversity and its uses is embedded within indigenous languages, yet Arctic languages face an uncertain future. Twenty languages have become extinct since the 1800s, with ten of these extinctions taking place after 1990. Of these extinctions, one was in Finland, one in Canada, one in Alaska, and seventeen in the Russian Arctic. The remaining Arctic indigenous languages are decreasing in vitality as the number of speakers decreases. Only four out of 44 languages surveyed displayed either no change or an increase in absolute number of speakers and proportion of speakers. The increasing rate of language extinction emphasizes the need to increase our understanding of the cultures and traditions contained within these languages, and to increase efforts aimed at revitalizing them.

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