St Helena has 45 endemic flowering plants and ferns, over 400 endemic invertebrates and approximately 26 endemic bryophytes. Many of these species are highly threatened due to fragmentation and loss of their specialist habitat and, competition and/or predation from invasive species.
The Terrestrial Conservation section is responsible for the conservation of these important native species and habitats on the island. The section is led by the Terrestrial Conservation Advisor/Manager and consists of 16 staff composed mainly into two teams: the Habitats Team, led by the Terrestrial Conservation Officer, and the Species team, led by the Nursery Officer. The Species Conservation and Environmental Research Officer completes the section.
The Habitats Team work principally on the Peaks and are responsible for cloud forest habitat restoration and maintenance. The Species Team run the endemic nursery, and are responsible for safeguarding endemic species through wild seed collection, storage and propagation, and planting and maintenance of restoration sites around the island.
The Terrestrial Conservation section is also responsible for writing plans to guide the management of 14 National Conservation Areas , designated for their natural features; we develop policy relevant to species conservation; work with other departments in SHG to improve environmental performance; provide expert advice when requested; and raise local awareness of conservation issues, among many other duties.
We also collaborate with local and international organisations on conservation issues and, on projects to protect and gain more information on these highly endangered species and their habitats, such as the Bastard Gumwood Project.
Our section is also aiming to provide more evidence-based reporting on St Helena’s environment going forward, through routine environmental monitoring, documented data collection and detailed data analysis.