Antarctica: The world's last wilderness?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The term 'wilderness' is explicitly mentioned in the Antarctic Treaty'sEnvironmental Protocol, both in relation to protection of the wilderness values ofAntarctica, and the consideration of these values when conducting any activity in the TreatyArea; yet no formal definition is provided. A definition is required to enable identification ofpotential wilderness areas in the Antarctic, to ensure their subsequent protection. ThatAntarctica contains wilderness seems in little doubt, but expansion and diversification ofhuman activity creates impacts which are eroding and fragmenting the area of the continentthat could be classified as wilderness. This paper reviews several possible definitions ofwilderness previously submitted to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties and used inwilderness protection elsewhere in the world, from the complex to the simple, and theinverse relationship between footprint and wilderness. Suggestions on ways to map,monitor and better protect wilderness into the future are investigated, using both theexisting framework of the Treaty System, and other management tools such as StrategicEnvironmental Assessment and Landscape Character Assessment. Consideration andimplementation of these recommendations should then safeguard Antarctica, so that it cancontinue to remain the world's last large contiguous wilderness.
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