Table of Contents

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State of the European Arctic Environment, EEA Environmental Monograph no. 3

The European Arctic is clearly affected by human activity. The region has been seen as an area of unlimited harvesting, into which nuclear wastes and other contaminants could be deposited. The Kola Peninsula is affected by heavy industrial pollution and military installations. Intensive fisheries have resulted in over-exploited key stocks, and long-range pollutants threaten even High Arctic species. Still, the European Arctic is first and foremost an area with values unique in Europe. There are large, nearly pristine wilderness areas and nearly intact ecosystems. Many habitats and animal populations are far less affected by man then elsewhere in Europe, and the marine ecosystems are highly productive.

By giving a brief overview of the environmental status in the European Arctic, the report aims at increasing the awareness of the region. In a world where areas unaffected by man are rapidly decreasing, the value of the European Arctic wilderness will, if properly managed, only increase in the future.

Table of Contents



Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Geophysical characteristics

  • Regional climate
  • Topography
  • Oceanography
  • Hydrology

3. Biota of the European Arctic

  • General characteristics
  • Marine ecosystems
  • Terrestrial ecosystems
  • Freshwater ecosystems

4. Human Activities and Impacts

  • Human population
  • Main human activities

5. The environmental status

  • Introduction
  • Wilderness quality
  • Species abundance and diversity
  • Pollutants - contents and effects in the environment
  • Environmental issues of human health

6. State of Action and Protection Arrangements

  • International environmental programmes
  • Research co-operation
  • International Arrangements for the Protection of the European Arctic Environment

7. Threats and Challenges to the European Arctic Environment

  • Threats
  • Human activities; future environmental challenges

8. Objectives and Recommendations

  • Long term goals
  • Objectives and actions




The State of the European Arctic Environment.

EEA Environmental Monograph no. 3

Editors: John Richard Hansen, Rasmus Hanson & Stefan Norris
Prepared by: Norsk Polarinstitut
Published by: European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, 1996
ISBN: 92-827-5775-7
Price: ECU 20 (Excluding VAT)


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