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WP003: Biodiversity-based Evaluation of the Environmental Domains Analysis

ATCM XXXIII and CEP XIII 2010, Punta del Este, Uruguay

Working Paper

WP003: Biodiversity-based Evaluation of the Environmental Domains Analysis


Responding to a need to give substance to the phrase ‘systematic environmental geographic framework’ in Article 3(2) of Annex V to the Protocol on Environmental Protection, New Zealand used an Environmental Domains Analysis to provide such a framework. The development of the Environmental Domains Analysis was presented to the CEP through a series of working papers (e.g. ATCM XXVIII WP 2, ATCM XXIX WP32, ATCM XXX WP12) culminating in the final product reported in ATCM XXXI WP27. The Environmental Domains Analysis, based on a wide variety of spatially explicit, abiotic environmental data layers, resulted in the identification of 21 environments for Antarctica (for full details see the technical report by Morgan et al. 2007 appended to ATCM XXXI WP27). Various applications were suggested for the Environmental Domains Analysis (hereafter EDA), including assistance with the development of a comprehensive system of protected areas for the region, management of protected areas, and a systematic assessment of the representativeness and/or distinctiveness of protected areas, including species and ecosystem processes. The use of abiotic environmental variables as surrogate measures of diversity and representativeness of protected areas is a well-established approach used for other continental regions, acknowledging that typically they do not capture historical signals unless explicitly designed to do so. Evaluation of the effectiveness of such an approach is usually based on how well the network of suggested areas, based on feature or abiotic diversity, captures biological diversity.

To this end, SCAR agreed at ATCM XXX to undertake an assessment of the extent to which the outcome of the EDA corresponds with patterns found in spatially explicit biodiversity data for the region. This paper reports on that assessment, based on data from the SCAR Biodiversity Database hosted by the Australian Antarctic Division.

ATCM - Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
CEP - Committee for Environmental Protection
33th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
03 May 2010 - 14 May 2010