The United Kingdom's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra) has today announced that the Gough and Inaccessible Island Nature Reserves in the UK's Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha will be added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Click here for the defra news story.
The Convention on Wetlands was signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. It aims to achieve sustainable development through the conservation and wise use of listed wetlands. The UK announcement comes at the same time the Convention is holding the 10th Session of its Conference of Parties in Changwon, Republic of Korea.
Gough and Inaccessible Islands are two of the least modified cool temperate island ecosystems in the southern hemisphere. Gough has been described as “a strong contender for the title of the most important seabird colony in the world”. Important Ramsar wetland types on the two islands include non-forested peatlands (home to the Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena). Between them, the two islands support six breeding ACAP-listed species, three of which are endemic to the Tristan Group.
The two islands have already been internationally recognized as a combined Natural Site by the World Heritage Convention, extending out to 12 nautical miles (limit of territorial waters). The Ramsar designations include all the terrestrial parts of the two islands as well as their territorial waters - to match the World Heritage Site.
With funding received from the Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) in 2007, the Tristan Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (TANRD) contracted John Cooper, Honorary Tristan da Cunha Conservation Officer, to prepare the information sheets and maps required to support the designations. The original intitiative for the designation came from the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF).
Poted by John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 29 October 2008