Arctic ecosystems are dramatically altered through changes to the vegetation, destruction of wetlands, and thawing of ice-rich permafrost. Plant species composition, and changes to vegetation composition has cascading effects through the ecosystem, as well as into global hydrologic and atmospheric systems. To preserve plant diversity, conservation programs must be guided by the biological requirements of species and ecosystem components.
Circumpolar cooperation of Arctic botanists is essential to achieve a unified approach to conservation, protection and sustainable use of Arctic ecosystems and resources
An Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) and an Arctic Vegetation Classification (AVC) are needed to support several of the biodiversity activities of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and circumpolar activities of the International Arctic Science Committee s Terrestrial Working Group (IASC TWG). Activities include recording and monitoring arctic plant-community diversity and distributions, wildlife habitat studies, and modelling the changes in the structure and function of the vegetation as the arctic climate changes.
In order to integrate Arctic interests into global conservation efforts, cooperation and a shared knowledge base is necessary among the countries with arctic lands. Toward this end, arctic botanists from eight Arctic States—Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States—convened at the Fourth International Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Flora Group Workshop held from May 15-18, 2007 in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.