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Falkland Islands Plant Conservation - COMPLETED (2009)

Developing a strategy for the long-term protection of the Falkland Islands' native flora through the sustainable management of key plant communities

Collecting geo-referenced locations of Falkland Islands endemic plants
Photo: Martin Hamilton

Over 170 vascular plant species are native to the Falkland Islands, with 13 of them endemic to this UK Overseas Territory.  The Vascular Flora of the Falkland Islands, published in 2002, provided an overview of the species present, their distribution and conservation status.  The Falkland Islands' Red Data List includes 23 native plants. One of the greatest threats to the islands' native plants is invasive species; there are now more introduced plants (177 species) than native plants (171 species).  Another threat to the native vegetation comes from the traditional grazing regimes of the sheep and cattle that represent the islands' major agricultural activity.  These animals feed preferentially on palatable native species, suppressing their growth and reducing species diversity.

 The Falkland Islands Plant Conservation Project established a strategy for the long-term protection of the Territory's native flora through the sustainable management of key plant communities.  Kew contributed technical assistance to the project through collecting and survey programmes and built capacity within the Islands by providing training for project staff and volunteers in plant collecting skills, survey and monitoring techniques and the use of GIS. The Project Officer attended the 8-week course for the International Diploma in Plant Conservation Strategies in 2007.

The project's major outputs comprised:

  • an updated plant checklist and Red List for the Falkland Islands
  • all herbarium voucher specimens incorporated into the UKOTs Online Herbarium
  • establishment of herbarium facilities at the Falklands Conservation offices in Stanley and repatriation of a duplicate set of herbarium specimens collected during the project
  • establishment of a seed bank
  • collection of samples of genetic material  of plant species of international conservation importance
  • an Important Plant Areas (IPA) Directory, comprising 17 documented IPAs
  • Species Action Plans for 10 of the plant species listed as endangered or critically endangered
  • habitat action plants
  • the monitoring of rotational grazing schemes to inform improved sustainable use of native plants. 

Project staff have also provided botanical data for a concurrent 3-year project on reducing the impacts of invasive species on the South Atlantic UK Overseas Territories.

Project partners and collaborators

Falkland Islands
Environmental Planning Department, Falkland Islands Government
Department of Agriculture, Falkland Islands Government
Falklands Conservation
Elephant Beach Farm
 
UK
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Project funders

UK

Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) - Project No. FAL401

Annex material

Published paper

Clubbe, C. & Hamilton, M., & Corcoran, M. (2010). Using the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation to Guide Conservation Implementation in the UK Overseas Territories. Kew Bulletin 65: 509-717.