Managing cumulative impacts and protected areas in Antarctica: what can we learn from the rest of the world?
For more than 20 years Antarctic Treaty Parties have been discussing how to appropriately manage cumulative impacts in the continent. Preventing cumulative impacts requires the fluent exchange of information to enable proper and timely assessment of, and response to, the impacts that result from multiple activities, undertaken by multiple stakeholders and supervised by different Parties. This is a particular challenge for the effective management of Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs), as a lack of coordination may potentially put at risk the fulfillment of their conservation objectives. Here we suggest that incorporating lessons learnt from protected areas management elsewhere might improve the effectiveness of ASPAs and provide valuable experiences and insights on how to better manage cumulative impacts in the rest of the continent. Key concepts to incorporate in Antarctica’s environmental management toolbox include (1) the notion of adaptive management, which is a cornerstone of protected areas management effectiveness elsewhere, and (2) the need of empowering protected area managers, which are a key (but often missing) element to ensure local compliance with management plans, co-ordinate on site activities, facilitate exchange of information, promote cooperation and manage conflicts.
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