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The State of the European Arctic Environment

31 Dec 1996

This report provides a general assessment of the pressures, state and trends of the European Arctic environment. This remote, harsh and vulnerable environment consists of large productive marine areas containing some of the World's largest fish stocks, ranging from lcelandic waters in the west to the Kara Sea north of the Russian Federation in the east. lts landmasses, being the home also to indigenous peoples, include islands and the northern part of continental Europe as far as the Ural mountains. Although this huge and sparsely inhabited landmass in Northern Europe is severely affected by local human impacts, it also contains the largest areas of pristine nature in Europe, providing in its tundra regions the only breeding and molting area in the World for several species of migrating birds. There are plenty of threats to the Arctic environment: over-fishing, improper storage and dumping of nuclear wastes , long-range pollution, increased tourism, and petroleum exploitation, for example. Although the majority of these threats are global, their impact is generally more acutely felt in the Arctic where the duration of damage is much longer than elsewhere. Action at the national, regional and international level to protect the values of this unique environment, its ecosystems, biodiversity, wilderness areas and cultural heritage, should therefore be reinforced in order to ensure sustainable development in this part of Europe. The report has been prepared by the Norwegian Polar Institute as part of the Norwegian support of the European Environment Agency. Opinions and views expressed in the report are the sole responsibility of the Norwegian Polar Institute and they are not necessarily those of the European Commission or the European Environment Agency.

Status: Completed

Type: Staff Publications

Author: J. Hansen, Rasmus Hansson, S. Norris

Year of publication: 1996

Publisher: European Environment Agency and Norsk Polarinstitut

Place of publication: Copenhagen, Denmark

Tags: Arctic arctic tundra

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