Scientific Research Continuum

FIGURE IV Earth system science extends across a continuum from basic to applied research with a broad focus on ecosystem events, entities and phenomena over time and space on a planetary scale (Part I: Earth System Science). On the basic end of the spectrum are studies about the world around us just because of its wonder. On the applied end are studies, technologies, and enterprises for utilizing biological and environmental resources. Across the scientific continuum are insights about creating ecosystem management strategies that will perpetuate the rational use of our natural resources into the distant future. Modified from Berkman (1992).

essary to design a holistic blueprint for Antarctic area protection and management. Beyond the gentlemen's agreement among nations in the Antarctic Treaty, the PROTOCOL pertains to the shared responsibility of all entities in the Antarctic region—from national programs to commercial ventures to individuals.

The underpinning of resource management, whether in Antarctica or anywhere else in the Earth system, is the information available for understanding how humans affect natural systems. In this general context, the visionary international system in Antarctica is a model for designing resource policies that integrate information across the research continuum from basic to applied science (Fig. IV). Across this spectrum, basic science focuses on natural processes in pristine ecosystems, often without considering the ramifications of the research in a societal context. Conversely, applied science is directed toward analyzing human impacts in disturbed ecosystems, often without es-

sive petroleum deposits on the Antarctic continental shelf. Moreover, there were concerns about lasting environmental impacts in Antarctic marine and terrestrial ecosystems. All of these issues were to have been resolved by CRAMRA as a ''matter of urgency.''

However, in 1989 the Bahia Paraiso oil spill in the Antarctic Peninsula region caused the Antarctic Treaty nations to abandon CRAMRA because of heightened concerns about mineral resource activities ever being acceptable. Despite 14 years of negotiating and elaborating criteria for acceptable mineral prospecting, exploration and development activities, CRAMRA was never ratified (Table 5.2). In its place, the 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (PROTOCOL) simply prohibited ''all mineral resource activities in Antarctica'' for the next 50 years, at least, or until economic pressures overwhelm the current political consensus (Chapter 11: Environmental Protection).

The PROTOCOL also consolidated the resource management strategies from the first 30 years of the Antarctic Treaty System (Table 5.2). Beyond discrete environmental solutions, the PROTOCOL established that all Antarctic habitats—both marine and terrestrial—were linked as ''dependent and associated ecosystems.'' Strategies for assessing the ''minor or transitory'' nature of environmental impacts were identified, particularly as they relate to the conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora. The PROTOCOL also identified environmental principles that included the ''wilderness and aesthetic values'' of Antarctica, as well as its intrinsic value as an area for conducting essential scientific research to understand the global environment.

Because of the increasing numbers of humans in Antarctica, either as part of national programs or commercial expeditions, guidelines for waste disposal and management were created. The PROTOCOL also instituted strategies for preventing marine pollution in the circumpolar Southern Ocean, since most of the human transport is by ship, especially by the tourist vessels that now transport more than 10,000 persons each year as the largest human contingent in the Antarctic region. In essence, because there are multiple uses of Antarc-tica—from science to tourism to resource exploitation—it was nec-

tablishing the appropriate natural baselines. In essence, interpreting the relationship between natural processes and human impacts requires information that integrates both basic and applied science. The following chapters will highlight Antarctic examples for integrating scientific research and resource policies that are relevant to the future of humankind.

Humans, like all known life forms, are dependent on Earth's resources. Humans also have a unique capacity among Earth's species to modify land, ocean, and atmospheric systems along with the geological, physical, chemical, and biological processes that connect them (Fig. III). At a most fundamental level, understanding and being able to respond effectively to natural and human-induced environmental changes is essential for sustaining the development of societies throughout the Earth system into the distant future.

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