Impact of Human Activities in Antarctica
Although commonly portrayed as the last great wilderness, Antarctica is no longer a pristine environment. At some locations, particularly around long-standing research stations, evidence of past human activity is clear, and, as Antarctic tourism increases, the pressures on the environment can only grow. Australia, together with other Parties to the Antarctic Treaty has ratified the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and is committed to valuing and protecting Antarctica. The Protocol provides for comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and is overseen by the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP). It requires that activities in Antarctica be conducted so as to limit adverse impacts. It also requires that future activities be planned on the basis of information sufficient to make informed judgements about their impacts. To achieve secure environmental protection for Antarctica, management decisions must be founded on ecologically sound principles and be supported by an understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes. This program addresses these issues.
Read more about this program in the Antarctic Science Strategy 2004/05-2008/09.
Our current human impacts research is now conducted under the 2011-12 to 2020-21 science strategic plan - see Human impacts: prevention, mitigation and remediation.