Challenge 3. People and the Poles – developing resilience to environmental hazards and managing natural resources
The polar regions hold large natural resources such as minerals, oil and gas and provide some of the most productive fisheries on Earth. However, polar environments and ecosystems are fragile and slow to recover when disturbed, activities in the polar regions must be carefully managed to minimise the impact on the environment.
The Antarctic Treaty excludes mineral extraction from Antarctica, but seeks to encourage sustainable management of living resources and a growing tourism industry. In the Arctic, where all of the land area and much of the ocean is the sovereign territory of the arctic nations, diverse economic activities are developing alongside indigenous human communities who seek to maintain their connection with the land and environment.
In both regions, the key to successful future management will be identification, and robust attribution, of the causes of change, and effective risk management.
BAS has proven expertise in the assessment of natural hazards, baseline environmental mapping and in providing policy advice to Government on resource use. For example, for thirty years BAS scientists have played provided scientific advice and support in the development of sustainable management procedures, through the Antarctic Treaty and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).