Norwegian biodiversity studies to be extended

New strategy designed to identify effects of human intrusion into untouched habitats

Details of a Norwegian programme to monitor the effects on biodiversity of human intrusion into previously untouched ecosystems have been released by the national nature agency (DN). According to the DN, earlier biodiversity monitoring work has "exposed gaps," which the agency wants to fill by assessing the "fragmentation of ecosystems". Most monitoring to date has been concerned with the impact of pollution and activities such as fishing or agriculture. The agency's new plan is to monitor the effects of encroachment of human activities into Norway's large expanses of virgin habitats, including forests, lakes, and coastal lands and waters. The programme, which is expected to be up and running by 2002, seeks to identify emerging threats to wildlife, and also to study trends among species often found in areas affected by human-induced change. The results will help to prioritise conservation actions and identify new research areas to establish the causes of a particular trend, Gunn Paulsen of the DN told ENDS Daily. "If we can identify harmful influences, then policy makers can take them into account," she continued. The government's intention to launch a new biodiversity monitoring initiative was first announced last year (ENDS Daily 11 June 1997).

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