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Value of Antarctic and Southern Ocean (A&SO) Ecosystem Services

Why is it in the news?

  • Recent studies have estimated the annual economic value of ecosystem services in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean region to be approximately $180 billion.

More about the news

  • Ecosystem services refer to the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being, impacting survival and quality of life.
  • These services involve the ability of humans to obtain products from ecosystems. Some of the examples in the A&SO include the Antarctic toothfish and krill, which are utilized as food for humans and for the production of high-value pharmaceuticals.

Regulating Services:

  • These benefits stem from natural processes and ecosystem functioning.
  • The Southern Ocean plays a crucial role in climate regulation by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and facilitating the global transport of water.

Cultural Services:

  • These are non-material benefits obtained by people from ecosystems.
  • In the A&SO, tourism and scientific research activities contribute to spiritual enrichment, recreation, and educational opportunities.

Governance of Antarctic and Southern Ocean

Antarctic Treaty (1959)

  • The Antarctic Treaty, established in 1959, governs activities in the region south of 60掳 South latitude.
  • It emphasizes the peaceful use of Antarctica and prohibits military activities, fostering international cooperation in scientific research and environmental protection.

Antarctic Treaty System

  • This system encompasses the Antarctic Treaty itself and a series of related agreements.
  • These agreements address various aspects of Antarctic governance, including scientific cooperation, environmental conservation, and management of resources.
India鈥檚 Interests in Antarctic and Southern Ocean

Scientific Research:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 India has a significant interest in scientific research in the Antarctic region.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 It operates two research stations, Maitri and Bharati, which facilitate studies in fields such as climate science, glaciology, and biodiversity. These stations provide valuable data for understanding global environmental processes.

Legislative Measures:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Recognizing the importance of protecting the Antarctic environment, India enacted the Indian Antarctic Act in 2022.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 This legislation aims to establish national measures for environmental protection and sustainable management of resources in Antarctica.

International Engagement:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 India is actively engaged in international efforts to conserve the Antarctic ecosystem.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 As a signatory to agreements such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Madrid Protocol, India is committed to promoting the sustainable use and conservation of Antarctic resources.


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