Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic

Date:
July 12, 2012
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
A century ago, the South Pole was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the Antarctic is under threat from human activity.

Cruise ship in Antarctica.
Credit: Goinyk Volodymyr / Fotolia

A century ago, the South Pole was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the Antarctic is under threat from human activity.

Led by Monash University's Professor Steven Chown, a multidisciplinary team of experts from around the globe has set out the current and future conservation challenges facing the Antarctic in a Policy Forum article published July 12 in Science.

The team analyzed the effectiveness of the existing Antarctic Treaty System for protecting the region, one of the world's largest commons, from the threats of climate change and, as technology improves, increasing prospects of use of the Antarctic's natural resources.

Using a horizon scanning approach, the team determined that the major short-term threats included climate change impacts on marine systems, marine resource use, ocean acidification, invasive alien species, pollution, habitat alteration, and regulatory challenges within the Treaty system.

Professor Chown, incoming Head of Biological Sciences at Monash said the impacts of climate change were particularly worrying.

"Interactions between resource use and climate change are especially significant threats," Professor Chown said.

"Climate change is increasing the risk of the introduction of non-indigenous species. Several alien species, which have track records of being highly invasive, are already present in the Peninsula region and the risks are growing."

The team also looked at the likely situation in half a century. In the longer-term, climate change impacts on terrestrial systems, and the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms are growing threats.

Professor Chown said that the Treaty system remains effective, but swifter decision-making and more collaboration were vital if the Antarctic was to be conserved.

"The quick pace of change in much of the region is under-appreciated. There's warming in the Western Antarctic, changing species distributions, and a quickening in the rate of ice-loss, among other clear signs," Professor Chown said.

"The early explorers, such as Scott, Mawson and Amundsen would certainly be surprised at what they'd find in Antarctica now and by what's being discussed as possibilities."

Over the longer term, growing tourism and science activities will raise the prospect of permanent human settlement, and interests in resource use will escalate. The authors pointed out that these developments would mean substantial challenges to the conservation of the region, and in consequence to its governance through the Antarctic Treaty System.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. L. Chown, J. E. Lee, K. A. Hughes, J. Barnes, P. J. Barrett, D. M. Bergstrom, P. Convey, D. A. Cowan, K. Crosbie, G. Dyer, Y. Frenot, S. M. Grant, D. Herr, M. C. Kennicutt II, M. Lamers, A. Murray, H. P. Possingham, K. Reid, M. J. Riddle, P. G. Ryan, L. Sanson, J. D. Shaw, M. D. Sparrow, C. Summerhayes, A. Terauds, and D. H. Wall. Challenges to the Future Conservation of the Antarctic. Science, 13 July 2012: 158-159 DOI: 10.1126/science.1222821

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712144741.htm>.
Monash University. (2012, July 12). The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712144741.htm
Monash University. "The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712144741.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Antarctica at Risk from Human Activities

July 12, 2012 The continent of Antarctica is at risk from human activities and other forces, and environmental management is needed to protect the planet’s last great wilderness area, say ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins