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Soil trampling in an Antarctic Specially Protected Area: tools to assess levels of human impact

Tejedo, P.; Justel, A.; Benayas, J.; Rico, E.; Convey, Peter; Quesada, A.. 2009 Soil trampling in an Antarctic Specially Protected Area: tools to assess levels of human impact. Antarctic Science, 21 (3). 229-236. 10.1017/S0954102009001795

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Abstract/Summary

Research in extremely delicate environments must be sensitive to the need to minimize impacts caused simply through the presence of research personnel. This study investigates the effectiveness of current advice relating to travel on foot over Antarctic vegetation-free soils. These are based on the concentration of impacts through the creation of properly signed and identified paths. In order to address these impacts, we quantified three factors - resistance to compression, bulk density and free-living terrestrial arthropod abundance - in areas of human activity over five summer field seasons at the Byers Peninsula (Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands). Studies included instances of both experimentally controlled use and natural non-controlled situations. The data demonstrate that a minimum human presence is sufficient to alter both physical and biological characteristics of Byers Peninsula soils, although at the lowest levels of human activity this difference was not significant in comparison with adjacent undisturbed control areas. On the other hand, a limited resilience of physical properties was observed in Antarctic soils, thus it is crucial not to exceed the soil's natural recovery capability.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1017/S0954102009001795
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Global Science in the Antarctic Context (2005-2009) > Biodiversity, Functions, Limits and Adaptation from Molecules to Ecosystems
ISSN: 0954-1020
Additional Keywords: Antarctica; ASPA; environmental monitoring; recovery capacity; soil degradation; trampling impact
NORA Subject Terms: Management
Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 12 Nov 2010 14:57
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/11311

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