Antarctica’s wilderness fails to capture continent’s biodiversity

Rachel I. Leihy, Bernard W. T. Coetzee, Fraser Morgan, Ben Raymond, Justine D. Shaw, Aleks Terauds, Kees Bastmeijer, Steven L. Chown*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

25 Citaten (Scopus)


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.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)567-571
Aantal pagina's5
Nummer van het tijdschrift7817
StatusPublished - 23-jul.-2020
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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