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Antarctica's protected areas are inadequate, unrepresentative, and at risk.

Shaw JD, Terauds A, Riddle MJ, Possingham HP, Chown SL - PLoS Biol. (2014)

Bottom Line: Antarctica is widely regarded as one of the planet's last true wildernesses, insulated from threat by its remoteness and declaration as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science.However, rapidly growing human activity is accelerating threats to biodiversity.By any measure, including Aichi Target 11 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, Antarctic biodiversity is poorly protected by reserves, and those reserves are threatened.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia; Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Antarctica is widely regarded as one of the planet's last true wildernesses, insulated from threat by its remoteness and declaration as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science. However, rapidly growing human activity is accelerating threats to biodiversity. We determined how well the existing protected-area system represents terrestrial biodiversity and assessed the risk to protected areas from biological invasions, the region's most significant conservation threat. We found that Antarctica is one of the planet's least protected regions, with only 1.5% of its ice-free area formally designated as specially protected areas. Five of the distinct ice-free ecoregions have no specially designated areas for the protection of biodiversity. Every one of the 55 designated areas that protect Antarctica's biodiversity lies closer to sites of high human activity than expected by chance, and seven lie in high-risk areas for biological invasions. By any measure, including Aichi Target 11 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, Antarctic biodiversity is poorly protected by reserves, and those reserves are threatened.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Graphical comparisons of bootstrapped data (histogram) and actual mean distances (image with blue arrow).(A) Distance of ASPAs to tourist landings. Image credit: Aleks Terauds. (B) Distance of ASPAs to landings associated with national programs. Image credit: Dana Bergstrom. Histograms show frequency distribution of 10,000 by means of 55 locations sampled from 1,000 randomly generated, spatial, ice-free locations. Mean distances to ASPAs for both tourists and scientists are well outside the fifth percentile of the histogram (p<0.05), indicating that visitor landings are significantly closer to ASPAs than would be expected by chance.
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pbio-1001888-g003: Graphical comparisons of bootstrapped data (histogram) and actual mean distances (image with blue arrow).(A) Distance of ASPAs to tourist landings. Image credit: Aleks Terauds. (B) Distance of ASPAs to landings associated with national programs. Image credit: Dana Bergstrom. Histograms show frequency distribution of 10,000 by means of 55 locations sampled from 1,000 randomly generated, spatial, ice-free locations. Mean distances to ASPAs for both tourists and scientists are well outside the fifth percentile of the histogram (p<0.05), indicating that visitor landings are significantly closer to ASPAs than would be expected by chance.

Mentions: In terms of risk, the mean distances of ASPAs to tourist landing sites and scientific activity (i.e., established scientific facilities) are 289 km (range: 0 km to 2406 km) and 64 km (range: 0 km to 832 km), respectively, significantly closer than expected for the same number of randomly selected ice-free sites (Figure 3). Seven of the 55 ASPAs, all of which are on the Antarctic Peninsula, are at high risk of nonindigenous species establishment (Figure S2) (risk exceeds 50%, according to Chown et al. [25]), overlapping with high-risk areas for nonindigenous species establishment identified previously [25]. Overall, the mean risk index of establishment of nonindigenous species for ASPAs is 12% (standard error ±5%), significantly higher (by 24 times) than the mean risk for a randomly selected set of ice-free locations (0.5% ±0.1%, χ2 = 86.1, p<0.0001).


Antarctica's protected areas are inadequate, unrepresentative, and at risk.

Shaw JD, Terauds A, Riddle MJ, Possingham HP, Chown SL - PLoS Biol. (2014)

Graphical comparisons of bootstrapped data (histogram) and actual mean distances (image with blue arrow).(A) Distance of ASPAs to tourist landings. Image credit: Aleks Terauds. (B) Distance of ASPAs to landings associated with national programs. Image credit: Dana Bergstrom. Histograms show frequency distribution of 10,000 by means of 55 locations sampled from 1,000 randomly generated, spatial, ice-free locations. Mean distances to ASPAs for both tourists and scientists are well outside the fifth percentile of the histogram (p<0.05), indicating that visitor landings are significantly closer to ASPAs than would be expected by chance.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4060989&req=5

pbio-1001888-g003: Graphical comparisons of bootstrapped data (histogram) and actual mean distances (image with blue arrow).(A) Distance of ASPAs to tourist landings. Image credit: Aleks Terauds. (B) Distance of ASPAs to landings associated with national programs. Image credit: Dana Bergstrom. Histograms show frequency distribution of 10,000 by means of 55 locations sampled from 1,000 randomly generated, spatial, ice-free locations. Mean distances to ASPAs for both tourists and scientists are well outside the fifth percentile of the histogram (p<0.05), indicating that visitor landings are significantly closer to ASPAs than would be expected by chance.
Mentions: In terms of risk, the mean distances of ASPAs to tourist landing sites and scientific activity (i.e., established scientific facilities) are 289 km (range: 0 km to 2406 km) and 64 km (range: 0 km to 832 km), respectively, significantly closer than expected for the same number of randomly selected ice-free sites (Figure 3). Seven of the 55 ASPAs, all of which are on the Antarctic Peninsula, are at high risk of nonindigenous species establishment (Figure S2) (risk exceeds 50%, according to Chown et al. [25]), overlapping with high-risk areas for nonindigenous species establishment identified previously [25]. Overall, the mean risk index of establishment of nonindigenous species for ASPAs is 12% (standard error ±5%), significantly higher (by 24 times) than the mean risk for a randomly selected set of ice-free locations (0.5% ±0.1%, χ2 = 86.1, p<0.0001).

Bottom Line: Antarctica is widely regarded as one of the planet's last true wildernesses, insulated from threat by its remoteness and declaration as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science.However, rapidly growing human activity is accelerating threats to biodiversity.By any measure, including Aichi Target 11 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, Antarctic biodiversity is poorly protected by reserves, and those reserves are threatened.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia; Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Antarctica is widely regarded as one of the planet's last true wildernesses, insulated from threat by its remoteness and declaration as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science. However, rapidly growing human activity is accelerating threats to biodiversity. We determined how well the existing protected-area system represents terrestrial biodiversity and assessed the risk to protected areas from biological invasions, the region's most significant conservation threat. We found that Antarctica is one of the planet's least protected regions, with only 1.5% of its ice-free area formally designated as specially protected areas. Five of the distinct ice-free ecoregions have no specially designated areas for the protection of biodiversity. Every one of the 55 designated areas that protect Antarctica's biodiversity lies closer to sites of high human activity than expected by chance, and seven lie in high-risk areas for biological invasions. By any measure, including Aichi Target 11 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, Antarctic biodiversity is poorly protected by reserves, and those reserves are threatened.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus