The Arctic consists of ice and snow, quietness and nature. But human activity in the area has recently been increasing. There is great interest in creating new shipping routes through the Arctic oceans, and Greenland is e.g. experiencing great activity involving offshore oil exploration and mining exploration on land. Knowledge of the Arctic environment is essential in order to manage the environmental consequences of all these activities.
The section’s research is based on more than 40 years’ activity in Greenland. We study the species’ habitat requirements and the ecosystems’ biodiversity, and we perform spatial analyses in order to map the sensitivity of the natural habitats. We also study how the exploration and exploitation of oil and other mineral resources affects nature. The focus of our consultancy and research is related to minimizing the impact of mineral activities and other physical activities on the Arctic nature.
An important task is to identify areas for wildlife and their vulnerability to specific activities and pollutants and to develop methods for future monitoring of nature in both the marine and terrestrial environment. Research and consultancy is performed in close collaboration with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.
Most of our activities are associated with providing consultancy to the Environmental Agency for Mineral Resources Activities in Greenland (EAMRA). The authority draws on our expertise in all stages of exploring and exploiting oil and hard minerals, from the time a company enters an area to investigate, until the company submits an EIA report. We are also involved in the monitoring of the project till the time of its completion.
The results of our activities are available in publications and reports. Central to our work is a test bank containing environmental samples from the past 40 years. We have also developed a GIS database of areas crucial to a number of species, and it is an important source for the digital atlas of Greenland, NunaGIS.