eCite Digital Repository

Antarctica's wilderness fails to capture continent's biodiversity


Leihy, RI and Coetzee, BWT and Morgan, F and Raymond, B and Shaw, JD and Terauds, A and Bastmeijer, K and Chown, SL, Antarctica's wilderness fails to capture continent's biodiversity, Nature, 583, (7817) pp. 567-571. ISSN 0028-0836 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Nature Research

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2506-3


Recent assessments of Earth’s dwindling wilderness have emphasized that Antarctica is a crucial wilderness in need of protection. Yet human impacts on the continent are widespread, the extent of its wilderness unquantified and the importance thereof for biodiversity conservation unknown. Here we assemble a comprehensive record of human activity (approximately 2.7 million records, spanning 200 years) and use it to quantify the extent of Antarctica’s wilderness and its representation of biodiversity. We show that 99.6% of the continent’s area can still be considered wilderness, but this area captures few biodiversity features. Pristine areas, free from human interference, cover a much smaller area (less than 32% of Antarctica) and are declining as human activity escalates. Urgent expansion of Antarctica’s network of specially protected areas can both reverse this trend and secure the continent’s biodiversity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctica, biodiversity
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Raymond, B (Dr Ben Raymond)
ID Code:143075
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-02-25
Last Modified:2021-06-23

Repository Staff Only: item control page