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Nordic Seabird Colony Databases

Results of a Nordic project on seabird breeding colonies in Faroes, Greenland, Iceland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard

image of Nordic Seabird Colony Databases

Internationally important seabird resources are found in the Nordic countries (Greenland, Faeroes, Iceland, Jan Mayen, and Svalbard). To fulfill a recommendation of the Arctic Nordic Action Plan 1999, a project was carried out to harmonize databases for seabird colonies. Number of seabird species in these countries is 30, the number of colony sites may be 10,000, often more than one species at same site, and the total breeding pairs is estimated c. 50 million. A harmonized database format for seabird colonies was established, with 3 main tables, colony descriptions, colony survey data, study plot information. Linked are tables with references, observers, and photo documentation. The program can be downloaded free from: ftp://ftp.npolar.no/Out/Hallvard/. The manual is in the report appendix. The format harmonization is the first step in work on seabird colony databases. Harmonization enables common analyses over larger regions than hitherto possible, e.g. scientific assessments of species (colony details, geographic location, colony size, trend data, etc.) and conservation status overviews. Seabird colony data need to be incorporated into conservation policies. The databases are only as good as the data stored, many colonies remain unregistered, not censused, and fieldwork needs to be intensified. Each country maintains, updates, and corrects their databases, adding details lacking (habitat type, colony distribution, conservation status, land ownership, etc.)

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Introduction

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.

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