A recent paper published in Nature Sustainability warns of the effects of human presence in Antarctica. It says buildings now occupy 390,000 square meters with a “visual footprint”, or the area in which human activities are visible, of more than 93,000 square kilometers.
The study is the first to measure the human “footprint” on Antarctica and the researchers claim human presence may be as pressing an environmental risk as climate change and invasive species.
Ice-free land has the most diversity in Antarctica and provides a breeding ground for marine animals, making them the most sensitive areas. Man-made buildings are concentrated in these sensitive areas, concerning scientists.
The paper also warns that human presence not only has a negative effect on the wildlife, but on the science performed on the continent. Increased research activity and tourism threaten the validity of the research conducted.
Read more about the effects of human presence in Antarctica at Nature Sustainability.