A word that ranks very high in frequency in ACIA is species. It is used much more often in the ACIA report than in either of the IPCC reports. For example, relative to the size of the report, it is used five times more often in ACIA' scientific report than in the polar chapter of IPCC's Working Group II report. This indicates an emphasis on biological framings that warrants a closer look. Is this an indication of biological knowledge being more in focus or is the word species connected to some particular issue? It appears to be a combination. The word is used frequently in the three chapters focusing on ecosystems but also appears in a chapter on the principles of conservation of biodiversity and in a chapter on fisheries. Looking at the word ecosystem, which might also indicate a focus on biology, the ACIA still comes ahead but not as much in comparison to the IPCC's Working Group II report.
The strong focus on species also comes through in the overview document. For example, in the key finding that highlights the global importance of the Arctic, biodiversity is mentioned as an issue alongside a focus on physical aspects of the climate system. Moreover, it appears in the fourth key finding: "Animal species' diversity, ranges, and distribution will change."
What are the circumstances that could have driven the increased emphasis on species? Are there different scientific networks involved in the ACIA than are involved with the IPCC? Or could the context of the Arctic Council have created a stronger emphasis on these issues than the IPCC? One observation is that the emphasis on species is particularly strong in Chapter 7. Arctic Tundra and Polar Desert Ecosystems and Chapter 10. Principles of Conserving the Arctic's Biodiversity. These are also the two chapters that explicitly discuss biodiversity, followed by Chapter 8. Freshwater Ecosystems and Aquaculture, which also scores high on biodiversity. At a rather late stage in the ACIA process the concern raised that biodiversity issues were not treated enough in the
71 Interview Terry Fenge, May 3, 2004.
assessment and a consequent push from the Arctic Council working group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) to strengthen this discussion. In fact, Chapter 10. Principles of Conserving the Arctic's Biodiversity was added late in the process, after the scientific review of the whole report, because the Assessment Integration Team was not pleased with the framing of conservation that had come forth so far. In particular Chapter 11. Managing and Conservation of Wildlife in a Changing Arctic Environment has a focus on wildlife management rather than on conservation and biodiversity as was originally intended.72 The CAFF push had an effect. It is noteworthy that ACIA uses the word conservation much more frequently than the IPCC reports. Interviews from the spring of 2004 also indicate that CAFF was now happier with the coverage of their issues.73 In highlighting species, biodiversity, and conservation, the structural context of the assessment, i.e. CAFF as one of the formal leaders, thus appears to provide an explanation for the framing. CAFF is mentioned explicitly several times in the chapter on principles of conserving biodiversity, as well as in the chapters on management and conservation of wildlife, Arctic tundra, and freshwater ecosystems.
The fact that the emphasis on species came in late has two explanations. First is that CAFF was not very active in the initial phase of the assessment. A CAFF representative has described it as "They [AMAP] sort of ram butted a lot of things and they sort of dragged others with them. In the ACIA process, we were almost an afterthought."74 The second explanation is that the lead authors worked independently up until the review. Thus it was only then that it became clear that the lead author who was assumed to cover biodiversity had not taken CAFF's priorities and concerns into account.
To what extent does the global United Nations Convention on Biodiversity also play a role as a driver? There are not many explicit references to the convention in the report. Most of references are in relation to definitions. The convention's role thus appears to be most important in the general framing of biodiversity. There may also be an indirect connection via CAFF, which has a similar integrative approach as the Convention on Biodiversity.75 Protocols and other documentation of the ACIA process do not reveal any efforts to establish links to this convention.
Was this article helpful?