Antarctic Environments Portal



The Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty (the Protocol) sets out high standards of environmental protection and designates Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science. The Protocol establishes the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) - an expert advisory body that has responsibility for making recommendations to the Antarctic Treaty Parties on the implementation of the Protocol and the environmental management of Antarctica. To fulfil its advisory role, the CEP needs access to independent, relevant and up to date scientific advice on Antarctic environments and human activities in those environments. The Antarctic Environments Portal provides that resource.

Information that is available through the Portal is thoroughly peer-reviewed before being published. An Editor, supported by an Editorial Group oversees the review process and is responsible for ensuring information available through the Portal is apolitical and up-to-date.

Information available in the Portal is provided in two formats: Information Summaries and Emerging Issues.

Information Summaries

The Portal includes summarised information on the state of knowledge on issues that are of current concern to the CEP, the management of those issues, and environmental pressures likely to cause change into the future.  These Information Summaries present the key policy-relevant information arising from the best available science, and are the focus of the Portal.  They are intended to be concise, technically accurate, politically neutral and accessible to a broad audience.  The content is factual, free of jargon, with no recommendations.

Emerging Issues

The Emerging Issues format provides a mechanism for the research community to bring new or emerging knowledge to the attention of managers and policy makers.   Emerging Issues provide information on subjects that may not be a current priority for the CEP, or they may provide a new perspective on issues that are currently on the CEP's agenda.  Issues in question may not yet have significant depth or broad coverage in the scientific literature and may be a new discovery, a significant event, or a re-assessment that has been recently published.


The Portal provides an interactive and searchable map.  The map displays a range of information, including topography, place names (based on the SCAR Gazetteer) and coastline as well as environmental information of relevance to the CEP including on protected and managed areas and Antarctic conservation biogeographic regions.

Management of Content

Anyone can submit proposed content for the Portal if they have logged in.  Registration is free.  Questions on submitting content can be sent to the Editor: editor@environments.aq

All content that is submitted to the Portal must be based on published, peer-reviewed science.  The Portal Editor organises an additional series of reviews on draft content.  These reviews are done in conjunction with an Editorial Group and SCAR before the content is made public.  The process includes a number of review steps to ensure that only the highest quality information, that adequately summarises the current state of knowledge, is published in the Portal. A more detailed illustration and description of the editorial work flow and process can be found here.

Anyone can comment on information that is in the Portal if they have registered and logged in. Comments that are submitted on content will be reviewed and synthesized by the Editor before they are made public.

In preparing Information Summaries or Emerging Issues, authors should consider that officials involved in the work of the CEP are the primary audience for the Portal, along with all of the other delegates involved in the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which requires information to be easily accessible. 

Users who contribute to the Portal must clear any copyright issues before submitting to the Portal. Contributions to the Portal are held under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – Share Alike 3.0 licence.

More detailed guidance for authors is available for registered users.


All of us associated with the Antarctic Environments Portal are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of Prof. David Walton who since 2015 has been the Editor of the Portal.  David was a remarkable man and a great Antarctican.  His ability to communicate science across many disciplines was exceptional and why he was such a natural fit as the first Editor of the Portal.  We will miss David deeply and offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife Sharon and their three children.  A full obituary for David can be found on the SCAR website: https://www.scar.org/general-scar-news/walton-obituary/

Management of the Antarctic Environments Portal

The Antarctic Environments Portal is hosted by Gateway Antarctica and the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Portal is funded by the Tinker Foundation, until 2018.

Technical support is provided by Landcare Research New Zealand.

Additional support is provided by: the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the Australian Antarctic Division.

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