, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 337-345

What would Darwin have written now?

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Abstract

We often wonder how many of the pristine places left on Earth we can protect from deterioration before it is too late. The assumption that remote regions remain pristine plays a key role in directing policies for regional environmental management and conservation, and affects the local and global financial impetus to do so. In this paper, we use Argentinean Patagonia and the SW Atlantic as examples to argue that the assumption ‘remote region = pristine region’ is unjustified and based on a lack of information rather than on scientific evidence. We also discuss the major existing environmental threats to this supposedly ‘pristine’ region, and use emblematic examples to provide a more realistic picture of the regional environmental integrity and to set recommendations directed to improve environmental management and conservation within this context.