Coastal zone of the Euro-Arctic region of Russia - natural and social systems under climate change

Lead Author Evgenia, Markovskaya
Institution Contact Petrozavodsk State University
Theme Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments
Session Name 1.1 Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Arctic
Presentation Type Poster
Abstract text Arctic coastal wetlands are vulnerable both to climate change and active industrial development. The “proactive ecosystem management” is one of many mitigation strategies in this case. This demands good background knowledge on ecosystem structural and functional characteristics. The ongoing global climate changes and the growing man impact influence lead to the disruption of functioning of natural complex of the Arctic coastal zone, which results in the disturbance of human activity affecting human health. The coastal wetlands unite such ecosystem types as coastal tundras, salt and brackish marshes, ephemeral sandy ecosystems and ecotones between all of them. They provide crucial ecosystem services having global significance: unique habitats
including migrating birds and marine mammal species; carbon accumulation and store, matter balance regulation including accumulation of contamination; maintenance of the landscape integrity. The current threats to coastal wetlands are ocean pollution from offshore activity (including shipping etc.); enhancing access and infrastructure development; climate change reflected in sea level raising, high frequency of strong gales and storms and increase of ocean and soil temperature followed by thawing of permafrost. At the same time, on the shores of seas of Euro-Arctic region of Russia there is an active expansion of spheres of economic influence on the coastal zone of the Arctic seas, environmental safety ensures enhanced comfort of human life so highly specialized autotrophic components of coastal ecosystems, increased the risk of their disappearance in violation of these habitats. Studies of the interactions between abiotic and biotic processes enable us to determine the state of coastal biogeocenoses (development of the ecosystem) and make predictions of future changes. Held in the last 8 years comprehensive studies have shown that the constant volatility conditions leads to the fact that populations of plants and lichens do not reach the stage of full fitness and all species are in the stage of willing to make the microevolutionary changes in response to changes in the environment. The object of different legal assessments are primarily waters of the Arctic Ocean and its ice formations, and legal aspects of preservation of the coastal zone of Russia Euro-Arctic region (REAR) is controversial, waiting for a legally correct decision. Currently this topic is being rethought, not only in the context of climatic and economic changes that mark the contemporary processes in the Arctic region, but and with a lot of new knowledge on the state of biota of the coastal zone of REAR.