Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation is the first truly circumpolar overview of Arctic biodiversity written for the nonspecialist. It provides the reader with a clear understanding of the importance of the Earth's largest ecoregion and its status in the face of a rapidly changing world.Resource Type: Reports
An international team of research scientists has created a peer-reviewed website, http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/, which tracks multiple changes in the Arctic environment (Fig. 1). While the 2007 loss of summertime sea ice is the most dramatic example, changes are also seen in the atmosphere, on land and in the ocean, and as shifts in location and abundance of Arctic species.Resource Type: Reports
Geographical range is considered a good predictor of the levels of isozyme variation in plants. Widespread species, often consisting of historically larger and more continuous populations, maintain higher polymorphism and are less affected by drift, which tends to erode genetic variation in more geographically restricted species. However, widespread species occurring in small and disjunct populations may not fit this pattern. In this study we examined genetic variation in Pilgerodendron uviferum, a conifer endemic to temperate forests of southern South America.Resource Type: Journal Papers
UNEP-WCMC produces reports for a number of fora including CITES, the European Commission and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Recent examples of these reports can be downloaded here in PDF format.Resource Type: Reports
Arctic ecosystems are harsh and inhospitable, containing very low species diversity. However, although the habitats are relatively homogeneous throughout the circumpolar Arctic region, differences in species richness and areas of outstanding species richness can be recognised. Analysis of patterns in species diversity can be used to prioritise regions for conservation in the Arctic. Towards this goal, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) programme has been compiling information on the distribution and abundance of species and ecosystems in the Arctic. The work described in this report was designed to complement other ongoing projects and was included in the CAFF V work plan. It was carried out under an EU fellowship at UNEP-WCMC.Resource Type: Reports
Stipitate hydnoid ('tooth') fungi are considered to be threatened throughout much of central and northern Europe. In response to concern about the status of these fungi in the UK, a Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed for 14 species in this group. As a first step towards implementation of this plan, a number of surveys have been initiated, to determine the current status and distribution of hydnoid fungi. An overview of the results of these surveys is described. A series of distribution maps are presented, based on a compilation of early records and the results of a recent field survey in Scottish coniferous forests. The difficulties of interpreting early records are discussed, with particular reference to the taxonomie confusion that has surrounded this group of fungi. Although available data provide little evidence for decline of hydnoid fungi, a number of species display very restricted distributions within Scotland. The recent discovery of several species new to Britain emphasises the need for further field surveys to define the current status of these fungi with greater accuracy.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The effects of Pleistocene glaciations on the genetic characteristics of the most austral conifer in the world, Pilgerodendron uviferum, were analysed with specific reference to the hypothesis that the species persisted locally in ice-free areas in temperate South America.
Results indicated that Pilgerodendron populations are highly monomorphic, probably reflecting past population bottlenecks and reduced gene flow. Southernmost populations tend to be the least genetically variable and were therefore probably more affected by glacial activity than northern ones. Populations located outside ice limits seem to have been isolated during the glacial period. The presence of centres of genetic diversity, together with the lack of a significant correlation between genetic and geographical distances and the absence of geographical patterns of allelic frequencies at most analysed alleles, may indicate that Pilgerodendron did not advance southward after the last glaciation from a unique northern refugium, but spread from several surviving populations in ice-free areas in Patagonia instead.Resource Type: Journal Papers
An assessment of impacts on Arctic terrestrial ecosystems has emphasized geographical variability in responses of species and ecosystems to environmental change. This variability is usually associated with north-south gradients in climate, biodiversity, vegetation zones, and ecosystem structure and function. It is clear, however, that significant east-west variability in environment, ecosystem structure and function, environmental history, and recent climate variability is also important.Some areas have cooled while others have become warmer.
Overall, the subregional synthesis demonstrates the difficulty of generalizing projections of responses of ecosystem structure and function, species loss, and biospheric feedbacks to the climate system for the whole Arctic region and implies a need for a far greater understanding of the spatial variability in the responses of terrestrial arctic ecosystems to climate change.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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