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Ecol Appl. 2008 Mar;18(2 Suppl):S166-74.

Conservation of Arctic marine mammals faced with climate change.

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  • 1U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, 4340 East-West Highway, Room 905, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, USA.


On a daily basis, societies are making decisions that will influence the effects of climate change for decades or even centuries to come. To promote informed management of the associated risks, we review available conservation measures for Arctic marine mammals, a group that includes some of the most charismatic species on earth. The majority of available conservation measures (e.g., restrictions on hunting, protection of essential habitat areas from development, reduction of incidental take) are intended to address the effects of increasing human activity in the Arctic that are likely to follow decreasing sea ice and rising temperatures. As important as those measures will be in the effort to conserve Arctic marine mammals and ecosystems, they will not address the primary physical manifestations of climate change, such as loss of sea ice. Short of actions to prevent climate change, there are no known conservation measures that can be used to ensure the long-term persistence of these species and ecosystems as we know them today.

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