Why is Antarctica a significant wilderness region?

Peter Scott “we should have the sense to leave just one place alone” Wilderness is generally defined as a natural environment on Earth that has not been modified by human activity. Wilderness areas are considered important for ecological study, conservation, solitude, and recreation. Antarctica is one of the last remaining untouched pristine ecosystems. The southern ocean surrounding Antarctica is a very rich ecosystem, it plays host to more than 100 million birds that nest there and because of vast krill stock marine mammals thrive in its waters. This is just a couple of the reason why Antarctica is a significant wilderness region.

Last great wilderness area in the world

Highest continent, coldest climate

Genuinely pristine

Why is Antarctica a significant wilderness region? No human population Largest wilderness area

The ice holds over 160 million years of the planets history

1000 scientists operate here investigating various things

It has unique currents and water masses

Animals Invertebrate life includes microscopic mites, lice, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails. The flightless midge, just 12 millimeters in size, is the largest land animal in Antarctica. The Snow Petrel is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica. They have been seen at the South Pole.

A variety of marine animals exist and rely, directly or indirectly, on the phytoplankton. Antarctic sea life includes penguins, blue whales, orcas and fur seals. The Emperor penguin is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica, while the Adélie Penguin breeds farther south than any other penguin. The Rockhopper penguin has distinctive feathers around the eyes, giving the appearance of elaborate eyelashes. King penguins, Chinstrap penguins, and Gentoo Penguins also breed in the Antarctic. Plants The climate of Antarctica does not allow extensive vegetation. A combination of freezing temperatures, poor soil quality, lack of moisture, and lack of sunlight inhibit the flourishing of plants. As a result, plant life is limited to mostly mosses and liverworts. The flora of the continent largely consists of lichens, bryophytes, algae, and fungi. Growth generally occurs in the summer, and only for a few weeks at most. There are more than 200 species of lichens and approximately 50 species of bryophytes, such as mosses. Seven hundred species of algae exist, most of which are phytoplankton. Multicolored snow algae and diatoms are especially abundant in the coastal regions during the summer. There are two species of flowering plants found in the Antarctic Peninsula. Climate Temperatures range from about –70C in winter to about –35C in summer on the plateau around the South pole. On the coasts it averages 0C in summer and drops to – 25C in winter. The extreme cold means the air holds little moisture and at the South pole the annual snowfall is equivalent to less than 2.5cm of rain. Winds of 320 kph have been recorded, causing violent storms and the roughest seas in the world. The sea around Antarctica is frozen in winter and large areas of pack ice remain throughout summer. The Antarctic plays an important role in influencing the world's climate and weather because the ice reflects back most of the sun's energy. Over the whole area more heat

is lost than gained. This helps to balance the excess of heat reaching the tropics, so keeping the Earth from growing progressively hotter or cooler.