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SCAR EXCOM 2013 IP07: Antarctic Conservation for the 21st Century – A Comprehensive Strategy: Appendix 2
SCAR Executive Committee Meeting
22-23 July 2013, Barcelona, Spain

SCAR EXCOM 2013 IP07: Antarctic Conservation for the 21st Century – A Comprehensive Strategy: Appendix 2

Information Paper: 7, Appendix 2
Agenda Item: 5.2
Person Responsible: S.L. Chown

Journal paper:

Terauds A. et al. 2012. Conservation biogeography of the Antarctic. Diversity and Distributions, 18, 726–741.

Aim To present a synthesis of past biogeographic analyses and a new approach based on spatially explicit biodiversity information for the Antarctic region to identify biologically distinct areas in need of representation in a protected area network.

Location Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic.

Methods We reviewed and summarized published biogeographic studies of the Antarctic. We then developed a biogeographic classification for terrestrial con- servation planning in Antarctica by combining the most comprehensive source of Antarctic biodiversity data available with three spatial frameworks: (1) a 200-km grid, (2) a set of areas based on physical parameters known as the environmental domains of Antarctica and (3) expert-defined bioregions. We used these frameworks, or combinations thereof, together with multivariate techniques to identify biologically distinct areas.

Results Early studies of continental Antarctica typically described broad biore- gions, with the Antarctic Peninsula usually identified as biologically distinct from continental Antarctica; later studies suggested a more complex biogeography. Increasing complexity also characterizes the sub-Antarctic and marine realms, with differences among studies often attributable to the focal taxa. Using the most comprehensive terrestrial data available and by combining the groups formed by the environmental domains and expert-defined bioregions, we were able to identify 15 biologically distinct, ice-free, Antarctic Conservation Biogeo- graphic Regions (ACBRs), encompassing the continent and close lying islands.

Main conclusions Ice-free terrestrial Antarctica comprises several distinct bio- regions that are not fully represented in the current Antarctic Specially Pro- tected Area network. Biosecurity measures between these ACBRs should also be developed to prevent biotic homogenization in the region.

Keywords Antarctic biodiversity, biogeographical zones, conservation planning, ice-free Antarctica, spatial ecology, sub-Antarctic biogeography.