Falkland Islands - Conservation Priorities

Conservation Infrastructure
The Falkland Islands Government should establish a central unit for dealing with environmental and conservation matters, including supervising the acquisition and use of environmental baseline data and implementing new wildlife conservation legislation.
Confirmed July 2000
(New legislation was put in place in 1999.)
Updated July 2000
Education, Training and Public Awareness
  • Improved liaison should be developed between the authorities, tourists and the military to ensure that disturbance of wildlife does not take place.
  • Better assessment of tourist ventures should be carried out to minimize risks to the environment and wild species.
  • Military-civil liaison on conservation matters should be improved and members of the Forces should be encouraged to take part in conservation projects in the islands.
  • The need for improving the level of environmental education within the islands' education system is clearly seen. Materials which are Falklands-specific are desperately needed for teachers and pupils. Currently, all materials are based on those used in the UK.

Updated July 2000

Biodiversity (Species)

The existing Seabird Monitoring Programme should be expanded to take account of the continuing fisheries.
For all bird species that are globally threatened, endemic to the Falklands, declining, or for which the Falklands are globally important, there is a need to undertake the following:
- determine the finer scale distribution of these species in relation to their habitat requirements;
- determine the causes of historic/current population declines and propose remedial measures;
- identify the nature and adequacy of existing habitat protection and recommend how this could be improved to match the conservation needs of the species.

Research is needed into the breeding biology and population ecology of the southern sealion, which has suffered a major decline in the Falkland Islands
Preliminary surveys to determine the status of the southern elephant seal and the South American fur seal are required.

A broad-scale botanical survey is being carried out, with specific targeted surveys of endemic and restricted range plant species and species believed to be rare in the Falklands. Cataloguing and creating an atlas of flowering plant distribution are in progress.

An identification guide of the main species should be produced. This should then be used in the implementation of a broad-scale invertebrate survey.

A number of endemic, habitat-specific and declining taxa should be selected to act as indicator species and to focus particular attention on their distribution and status. The Table summarizes the status of research at species level.

Updated July 2000

Table 7. Falkland Islands: Species Information Requirements
Species group Level of research to date Information available on conservation status Activities required Priority species
Mammals Some N D E Sealion, seals
Birds Some Y C D E Penguins, albatross, Johnny rook
Fish Some Y B C D E Native zebra trout
Terrestrial invertebrates Very little N A B C D E  
Marine invertebrates Some Y A B C D E  
Other flowering plants Some Y C D E Tussac grass
Non-flowering plants Some N B C D E  
A, Preparation of a species inventory; B, Survey of the geographical distribution of species; C, A detailed ecological survey of selected species; D, Assessment of conservation status of species; E, Regular monitoring of species.
Source: Falklands Conservation
Biodiversity (Habitats)
  • Active planting programmes are needed to restore certain habitats, (e.g. tussac grassland) to make substantial improvements to the status of many species.
  • Studies of grazing intensity on habitat integrity and species diversity are needed.
  • Feasibility studies need to be carried out into the removal of certain introduced species, e.g. cats, foxes, rabbits and rats
  • Habitat surveys should be carried out to identify those parts of the Islands' terrestrial and marine environments in greatest need of protection from existing and potential threats.
  • Substantial additional survey information is needed to develop a network of reserves and environmentally sensitive areas. This is particularly necessary for marine habitats
  • Table 8 shows the habitat research requirements.
  • Updated July 2000

    Source: Falklands Conservation
Table 8. Falkland Islands: Habitat Research Requirements
Habitat Vegetation mapping Listing of sites Detailed survey of selected sites Assessment of habitat for conservation purposes Regular monitoring of habitat
Other wetlands R - - R R
Other terrestrial habitats - R R R R
Coastal areas R R R R R
Other marine habitats R R R R R
R, required;
-, no response

Source: Falklands Conservation