CAFF 2012: Arctic Species Trend Index: Tracking Trends in Arctic Vertebrate Populations Through Space and Time


Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Regional
Country or countries covered Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Russia, Iceland, Norway, United States, Finland, Faroe Islands, Sweden
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

Conducted by CAFFs Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP- This report builds on The Arctic Species Trend Index 2010: Tracking trends in Arctic wildlife (CAFF 2010), which provided our first broad measure of trends in vertebrate populations at a pan-Arctic scale. Follow-up work conducted in 2011 consisted of two types of investigations: 1. revision and updating of the Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI) data set, an update of the ASTI, and a closer look at the marine data sets (McRae et al. 2012.); and, 2. an exploration of spatial biodiversity data analysis techniques using the ASTI data set (this report).

Utilizing the ASTI data (890 vertebrate populations from 323 species spanning a time period from 1951 to 2010), we expanded the original investigation to examine broad-scale spatial patterns of biodiversity change across the Arctic. These patterns were looked at in relation to climatic and other environmental data to investigate potential causal mechanisms of biodiversity change. As well, we evaluated the spatial distribution and quality of biodiversity monitoring across the Arctic for use in identifying critical gaps in monitoring coverage. This report builds on The Arctic Species Trend Index 2010: Tracking trends in Arctic wildlife, which provided our first broad measure of trends in vertebrate populations at a pan-Arctic scale.

Mandate for the assessment

Mandated by the Arctic Council via its Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Island
  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland
  • Mountain
  • Dryland
  • Polar

Species groups assessed

Arctic vertebrates

Ecosystem services/functions assessed



Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment


If repeated, how frequently

Assessment outputs


Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Modelling
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Indicators

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

CAFF is the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council and consists of National Representatives assigned by each of the eight Arctic Council Member States, representatives of Indigenous Peoples' organizations that are Permanent Participants to the Council, and Arctic Council observer countries and organizations. The CAFF Working Group operates by the Arctic Council Rules of Procedures. All Arctic states, PPs and a range of Arctic Council observers engaged in the ABA process via the CAFF working group

CAFF serves as a vehicle to cooperate on species and habitat management and utilization, to share information on management techniques and regulatory regimes, and to facilitate more knowledgeable decision-making. It provides a mechanism to develop common responses on issues of importance for the Arctic ecosystem such as development and economic pressures, conservation opportunities and political commitments.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Policy-makers, government officials, indigenous peoples, students and industry and civil society representatives

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

All the data from the report is being made available on the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service:

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information