Protected areas have long been viewed as a key element for maintaining and conserving Arctic biodiversity and the functioning landscapes upon which species depend. Arctic protected areas have been established in strategically important and representative areas, helping to maintain crucial ecological features, e.g., caribou migration and calving areas, shorebird and waterfowl staging and nesting sites, seabird colonies, and critical components of marine mammal habitats. Also there is currently much work ongoing by IUCN and the Arctic Council wth regards to identifying Marine areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance in light of changing climate conditions and increasing multiple marine us.
The first protected areas dataset for the Arctic was created by CAFF in 1994 and was last updated in 2010.This dataset now comprises the Arctic component of the United Nations Environment Programmes (UNEP) World Protected Areas Dataset (WDPA). Data on protecetd areas and sensitive marine areas will be made available here as it is developed.
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