Environmental performance reporting

Sustainability Report 2005-2006

Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2007

Australian Antarctic Division Environmental Performance

Biodiversity

EN6: Location and size of land owned, leased or managed in biodiversity-rich habitats

Goals 2005-06
Performance 2005-06 and trends

In 2005-06, AAD managed nine Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) and one Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA) declared wholly or in part for their ecological significance, as well as the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve (under delegation from the Director of National Parks).

Table 1: Areas with special ecological significance managed by AAD
Sites of ecological significance Area (km2) Ecological values
Taylor Rookery ASPA 0.4 Land-based colony of emperor penguins
Rookery Islands ASPA 30.0 Breeding colonies of 6 bird species including the endangered southern giant petrel.
Ardery and Odbert Islands ASPA 1.9 Breeding areas of a range of bird species
North-east Bailey Peninsula ASPA 0.5 Diverse assemblage of vegetation
Clark Peninsula ASPA 12.1 Moss and lichen study area; penguin colonies
Frazier Islands ASPA 0.6 Breeding location of southern giant petrel
Scullin and Murray Monoliths ASPA 2.8 Breeding seabirds
Cape Denison ASMA 2.0 Haul-out site for seals, breeding area for seabirds
Marine Plain ASPA 23.4 Lake fauna and terrestrial fauna (but primarily managed for vertebrate fossil fauna and unique terrestrial water body)
Hawker Island ASPA 1.9 Breeding site of southern giant petrels
HIMI Marine Reserve 64 600 Crucial breeding habitat for a range of birds and marine mammals

The Cape Denison ASMA and the Marine Plain ASPA are primarily managed for their historical and fossil values respectively. There are, however, some areas of ecological significance within these specially managed areas which are highlighted in each of the management plans. The Scullin and Murray Monoliths ASPA and the Hawker Island ASPA Management Plans were gazetted and both ASPAs were designated in 2005-06. New species lists from recent expeditions in 2006 were published.

Commentary

Australia has long sought to protect the plants and animals of the Antarctic region, and to minimise the effects of human activities upon them. The whole Antarctic continent has a high level of protection under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol) and other Antarctic Treaty agreements. There are places within Antarctica where access is carefully controlled to protect outstanding environmental, scientific or cultural values, much as we set aside areas as national parks and nature reserves in Australia.

The Madrid Protocol established a protected area system for Antarctica. The Protocol requires the establishment of a comprehensive and representative system of protected areas in a systematic environmental-geographic framework. Australia first declared protected areas in Antarctica in 1966. These protected area provisions have been implemented in Australia through the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980.

AAD actively participates in international monitoring programmes; for example, through the Committee for Environment Protection, and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Goals 2006-07