Project Description

Arctic regions are facing increasing pressure from stressors such as climate change, resource development and landscape transformation that have repercussions for multiple dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem function, both regionally and on a circumpolar scale. These changes are shifting critical aspects of freshwater ecosystems such as nutrients and the quality resources available for biological production. Although environmental protection and biodiversity conservation of the Arctic region are high priorities, Arctic countries must balance conservation with sustainable development, as a warming climate allows for expanded resource exploitation, including extraction of petroleum, mining, hydropower, fisheries, and forest harvesting. Key to the development of management strategies for the Arctic is the recognition of the potential impacts of environmental impairment on the Northern communities who depend on the land and its development potential.

To improve knowledge of how environmental change is modifying the biota of Arctic freshwaters, there is both a demand and urgency for identifying critical research needs for Arctic freshwater ecosystems, their flora and fauna and how they will respond to ongoing climate change and accelerating resource development. Such a thorough evaluation of the key research gaps will ultimately aid the conservation and protection of these freshwaters. Clearly, many significant knowledge gaps remain concerning the probable impacts of environmental change in Arctic freshwater ecosystems and their catchments, which impedes the ability to make informed policy decisions. Thus, an identification of the key knowledge gaps concerning expected impacts is necessary to design future research and monitoring programs that can be used to effectively guide policy.

Here we propose a unique, cross-cutting project that aims at identifying future research needs and developing a research agenda for Arctic freshwater ecosystems. We will accomplish this through a collaboration with Arctic researchers from a wide range of disciplines and representatives for indigenous peoples’ and non-governmental organizations.

Date and Location 



IASC Working Groups funding the project


Project Lead

Willem Goedkoop, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden


Year funded by IASC





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