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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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Summary

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.

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