Summary of Working Paper No. 99-1998

II.4.10, Northern Sea Route Dynamic Environmental Atlas

By O.W. Brude and K.A. Moe, Alpha Environmental Consultants, Oslo, Norway; V. Bakken, Norwegian Polar Insitute, Tromsø, Norway; R. Hansson, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Oslo, Norway; L.-H. Larsen, Akvaplan-niva, Tromsø, Norway; S.M. Løvås, SINTEF Civil and Environmental Engineering, Trondheim, Norway; J. Thomassen Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway; and Ø. Wiig, Zoological Museum, University of Oslo, Norway.

The INSROP Sub-programme II: Environmental Factors, is principally an assessment of the potential environmental impacts of shipping, navigation and related activities on the NSR. To carry out consistent environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and risk analyses for human activities however, knowledge of the occurrence of natural resources in the area of the activity, their ecological dynamics and significance, as well as their vulnerability to the given activity in the short and the long term, is of significant importance. In this context, the Dynamic Environmental Atlas (DEA) forms the baseline environmental data set for the impact analysis and assessment.

The EIA, and consequently the DEA, is concentrated on a limited number of priority issues; - Valued Ecosystem Components (VECs), which have been carefully selected from a large and complex biogeographical region and potential NSR activity-impact relationships.

The current status of the DEA is the result of 4 years data inventory (1993-1997), and forms a joint product of Russian - Norwegian co-operation within the INSROP Sub-programme II and between the Sub-programmes I and II. The process has much relied on the Russian co-partners ability to provide baseline data; - most of the data in the database are supplied by Russian institutions and experts.

Field surveys have been beyond the Sub-programme scope. Except for results from individual studies, the information in the DEA is mainly based on historical data. Quality control have been carried out in line with the INSROP DEA manual on standards.

Medio 1998, the DEA has grown into a substantial base of systemised information, containing more than 4,000 individual georeferenced registrations on the temporal and spatial distribution of the selected VECs. The standard tabular information includes attributes like species name, observation counts (mean, minimum and maximum number), observation time, trend, source reference etc. Much of the information in the DEA is published for the first time abroad of Russia, which makes the DEA unique. Even there are still gaps to fill, the database provide the best available data for the analysis and the assessment of the INSROP EIA. Detailed descriptions and analyses of the data obtained are given in the Sub-programme II INSROP Working Papers.