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pdf ATT042 to IP031: Antarctic Geoconservation: A Review of Current Systems and Practices (Attachment)

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ATT042 to IP031: Antarctic Geoconservation: A Review of Current Systems and Practices (Attachment)

ATCM XXXIX and CEP XIX 2016, Santiago, Chile

Attachment 42 to information paper 31 ( pdf IP031 (152 KB) )

ATT042 to IP031: Antarctic Geoconservation: A Review of Current Systems and Practices (Attachment)

Journal article:

Hughes, K. et al., 2016. Antarctic geoconservation: A review of current systems and practices. Environmental Conservation, 43(2), 97-108. doi:10.1017/S0376892915000387.


The prohibition of commercial mineral resource extraction through the Antarctic Treaty System has removed one significant source of potential damage to Antarctica’s geological and geomorphological values. However, given the on-going increase in Antarctic tourism and scientific footprint, some high-quality geological features may be vulnerable to human impact, such as damage due to the construction of logistical facilities, unregulated collection of geological specimens or oversampling for scientific purposes. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty puts in place a framework for the protection of Antarctica’s environmental, scientific, historic, wilderness and aesthetic values. However, the Antarctic Protected Area system is still immature and further implementation of existing management tools may be required to protect the diverse range of vulnerabilities, qualities and spatial scales represented in the geology and geomorphology of the continent. At sites where high-quality mineralogical or palaeontological specimens exist in limited quantities, considerations of how best to prevent oversampling and manage access to remaining material may be supported by assessment of cumulative impacts. Examination of the level of Antarctic specimen loans from a selection of national geological collections suggested that existing publically accessible geological collections could be better utilized, which could reduce environmental impact and oversampling at vulnerable Antarctic sites.

Keywords: Antarctic Specially Protected Area, environmental impact assessment, fossils, geoconservation, geodiversity, geological collections, geological conservation, legislation, minerals, monitoring

ATCM - Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
CEP - Committee for Environmental Protection
39th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
23 May 2016 - 01 Jun 2016