St. Helena - Conservation Priorities

Conservation Infrastructure
The government's Environmental Conservation Section should be upgraded to fully respond to the demands of the Biodiversity Convention and the Small Islands Development Strategy.
Conservation Policy
  • The Agriculture and Forestry Department should further develop its efforts to conserve endemic flora and fauna
  • The existing Sustainable Environment and Development Strategy needs to be supported by further research and an inventory for the poorly researched areas of the biota.
Existing environmental legislation needs to be reviewed and updated.
Education, Training and Public Awareness
  • A comprehensive training and institutional strengthening programme is required to establish and sustain professional conservation expertise on the island.
  • A multi-purpose Environmental Education and Research Centre should be developed and the Environmental Field Studies Centre should be upgraded.
  • Posters should be prepared on endemic conservation and environmental issues for local use.
  • St Helena's unique biota should be further incorporated into local educational programmes.
Protected Areas
  • A submission should be made to obtain Biosphere Reserve status for St Helena.
  • A protected areas network should be established, building upon the existing strategic land-use plan.
  • The current status of environmental protection areas needs to be reviewed and strengthened.
Biodiversity (Species)

Existing nursery facilities should be upgraded and two field gene banks should be established for St Helena's priority threatened plants. Recovery programmes based on the establishment of secure, cultivated populations should be initiated for 13 species of plants. A survey should be conducted on marine endemic species to determine their distribution, status and ecology. Urgent and comprehensive survey work, and associated ecological research should be conducted for all St Helena's endemic invertebrate fauna. Conservation action plans should be established for the recognized priority species. The role of biological control in the management of invasive plant species should be encouraged, given full preliminary research is undertaken. Table 13 shows the research requirements at species level.

Table 13. St. Helena: Species Information Requirements
Species group Level of research to date Information available on conservation status Activities required Priority species
Mammals Some N B C D E  
Birds Extensive N B C D E  
Reptiles Some N B C D E  
Amphibians Some N B C D E  
Fish Some Y A B C D E  
Terrestrial invertebrates Some N A B C D E All endemics
Marine invertebrates Very little N A C E  
Trees Extensive N C D E  
Other flowering plants Extensive N C D E  
Non-flowering plants Very little N 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: St Helena Nature Conservation Group
Biodiversity (Habitats)
The clearance of exotics in all remnant habitat areas should be made a priority. An integrated strategy for the management of invasive species should be initiated as a matter of urgency. A programme of habitat restoration should be initiated, based upon the expansion of surviving remnant areas. Retention and expansion of remnant habitat areas should be incorporated within an integrated land-use policy. Table 14 indicates the habitat research requirements. Biodiversity research priorities Research is needed on the ecology of the marine environment, marine resources assessment, ecology of terrestrial invertebrate fauna, assessment of historic land-use changes and the ecology and genetics of endemic species.
Table 14. St.Helena: Habitat Research Requirements
Habitat Vegetation mapping Listing of sites Detailed survey of selected sites Assessment of habitat for conservation purposes Regular monitoring of habitat
Woodland R R R R R
Other terrestrial habitats R R R R R
Coastal areas R R R R R
Reefs R R R R R
Other marine habitats R R R R R
R, required; -, no response
Source: St Helena Nature Conservation Group