Table of Contents

  • The present report deals with harmonized databases for seabird colonies in the Nordic countries. The countries fringing the North-Atlantic seaboard have large and globally important seabird resources. The number of species, which regularly breed in these countries, are combined 30, the number of colony sites could be around 10 thousand (often more than one species nesting at same site), and the numbers of breeding pairs estimated nearly 50 million (of which Little Auk, especially in Greenland, far outnumber any other species with around 38 million pairs). In recognition of these facts, to fulfil the recommendations in the Arctic Nordic Action Plan from 1999 and obligations to circumpolar Arctic cooperation, the Nordic Council of Ministers provided funds for the harmonization of seabird colony databases in the Nordic countries.

  • Hendan frágreiðing viðger eina verkætlan um felags dátugrunnar, sum vísa hvar sjófuglur byggir í Norðurlondum. Londini í Norðurhøvum hava nógvan sjófugl, sum hevur altjóða týdning. Talið á sløgum, sum regluliga eigur í hesum londum, er tilsamans 30, talið ábølum man vera um 10 túsund (ofta eigur meira enn eitt slag á sama staði), og talið á pørum verður mett at vera um 50 milliónir (fulkubbastovnurin, serliga í Grønlandi, er nógv tann størsti við eini 38 milliónum pørum). Norðurlandaráðið hevur stuðlað hesi verkætlan at gera dátugrunnar eftir sama leisti fyri øll norðurlond. Hetta er gjørt sambært tilmælini í Arctic Nordic Action Plan 2000–2004.

  • The project reported on here is rooted in the Arctic Nordic Action Plan of the Nordic Council of Ministers (1999). The Nordic Seabird Colony Databases project is one of several seabird projects in the plan. These projects provide links to the work of the Arctic Council, a circumpolar ministerial cooperation of the Arctic countries. One of the council´s permanent working groups, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), has an expert group on seabirds (Circumpolar Seabird Group, CBird), which has had the subject ofharmonized seabird breeding databases on its agenda for a long time. The Nordic Seabird Colony Databases project has been looked upon as a potential template for seabird colony databases in the Arctic countries in general.

  • Seabird colony information of different depth was available in all the participating countries prior to the present project. Below are descriptions of the status of these data in each of the participating countries. These include among others description ofthe seabird species and populations, the status and size of the databases, the status of seabird monitoring programs, main knowledge gaps, and the global importance of the seabird resources. These overviews are based on presentations given at the meeting of the project group in Iceland in December 2002.

  • The Nordic Seabird Colony Databases project group consists of members from Greenland, Iceland, Faroes, and Norway. As mentioned in the introduction for the first three countries their total area was included in the project work, while Svalbard and Jan Mayenwere included from the Norwegian side.

  • The database program itself can be downloaded free of charge from the web for the use by other seabird colony database managers. The link is ftp://ftp.npolar.no/Out/NordicDatabase/.

  • Seabird breeding colonies (seabird colonies, colonies) are important elements in nature. They contribute significantly to the local biodiversity, both directly and indirectly (by attracting predators, scavengers and by creating habitats for many other living organisms). They play a major ecological role as vectors of nutrients and carbon from the sea to terrestrial habitats. And in many regions they contribute to human existence byproviding resources to local communities and by giving opportunities to recreational activities such as tourism. However, the large concentrations of breeding birds (often significant fractions of the total populations) gathered in very localised sites, are particularly vulnerable to human induced influences, such as disturbance, habitat alteration, fisheries and oil pollution. Therefore careful management of human activities, which can impact the seabird colonies, is necessary to protect them. Readily available and up to date information on the colonies is in this process crucial, and a database with seabird breeding colony information will be a most efficient tool in this respect. This is or should bean integral part of the conservation policies of the Nordic countries.

  • The idea to establish a harmonized database format for seabird colonies in Faroes, Greenland, Iceland, Jan Mayen, and Svalbard is partly a product of, and has strong links to, the work of the Circumpolar Seabird Group (CBird), an expert group under the program for Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), one of the permanent working groups of the Arctic Council. The CBird group, which was established in 1993, has had the subject of harmonizing seabird colony databases at the circumpolar level on its agenda. That effort has, among others, resulted in a joint circumpolar colony database for the two murre species (Common Murre and Thick-billed Murre). This database has been used to publish a series of maps, posters, reports, and scientific papers (e.g. CAFF 2000, CAFF 2001 (p. 92), Petersen and Bakken 2004 (p. 4 & 10)).

  • On fulfilment of the present project it is logical to reflect on the future. The report contains examples of the use of harmonized seabird colony databases and how thismay be expanded to seabird databases in other Arctic countries. A number of relevant issues are not included in the current exercise, but can be looked upon as possible next phases of the present project.