Assessment of the Red Book bird species habitats in the Kara and Pechora seas and recommendations for ship routes construction

Assessment of the Red Book bird species habitats in the Kara and Pechora seas and recommendations for ship routes construction

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Ivory Gull. Photo М. Ivanov

The present stage of the Arctic exploration is inextricably connected with the intensification of navigation in the Arctic Ocean basin seas. Due to regular freight transportation along the Northern Sea Route, as well as various site surveys, geophysical and environmental studies on the Arctic shelf, a large number of vessels dwells in the northern Russian seas. At the same time, Arctic waters and coasts appear to be the most important habitats for many species of marine, waterfowl and near-water birds, including species listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation or with high conservation status on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The main objective of this project was to develop recommendations for ship routes construction bypassing the habitats of rare and protected species in the southwestern part of the Kara Sea. The high intensity of shipping in this area is associated both with development of offshore hydrocarbon deposits and with ships transits to the port of Sabetta, located in the north-east of Yamal, one of the key areas of modern economic development of the Russian Arctic.

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Arctic Tern. Photo S.Volkov

Within the Project, a significant amount of published data on the distribution and ecology of Red Book bird species in the study area was analized, as well as the results of environmental studies of license areas located here. According to available materials, areas important for maintaining populations of rare and protected bird species were determined. Seasonal aspects, connection with water and coastal areas degree, and also their potential sensitivity to anthropogenic impact associated with shipping were taken into account.

Long-tailed Duck. Photo S.Volkov

Ship routes bypassing valuable ornithological sites minimize the impact of navigation on the rare and protected bird species in the region, which can help reduce the negative trends in the number of populations of seabird species (especially Long-tailed duck). Reducing disturbance during the most vulnerable periods (brood driving, moulting) is an important condition for maintaining stable populations of species.

Project leaders:    Board member Sergei V Volkov (owl_bird @;

                             Olga B Pokrovskaya (olga.b.pokrovskaya @

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