An remoted abundance of biodiversity and its ever-growing significance


At lower than 10% the peak of Mount Everest, the Peaks Nationwide Park is situated on the tiny island of St Helena, one of the vital distant inhabited locations on this planet in the midst of the huge South Atlantic Ocean. The Park’s globally essential cloud forest holds roughly 250 species discovered nowhere else on this planet, equating to a few sixth of the UK’s whole endemic biodiversity.

Black Cabbage

Black Cabbage analysis. Credit score: Amy Webster

One among St Helena’s iconic ‘tree daisies’, the Black Cabbage or Melanodendron integrifolium is a flagship cloud forest species.

Comparatively brief and stout with a superbly spreading cover, this magnificent tree can also be one of the vital distinctive throughout the Peaks Nationwide Park. It gives a haven for a variety of endemic bryophytes, ferns, and invertebrate species.

As is the cloud forest typically, the Black Cabbage is threatened by local weather change, habitat fragmentation, and threats from rising tree illnesses. Analysis and conservation efforts are centered on guaranteeing the continued survival of this keystone species.

Spiky Yellow Woodlouse

Spiky Yellow Woodlouse. Credit score: Amy Jayne Dutton

The Spiky Yellow Woodlouse or Pseudolaureola atlantica is among the extra well-known endemic invertebrates of St Helena and is usually thought-about the island’s nationwide invertebrate.

It’s not laborious to visualise its look when you think about its title; this vibrant yellow woodlouse that boasts an armoured exterior of spikes is unmistakeable and is discovered clambering over dense ferns in the dead of night patches of vegetation throughout the cloud forest of the Peaks Nationwide Park.

Regardless of its recognition, this charismatic species is taken into account extraordinarily uncommon with an estimated inhabitants of lower than 1 000 amongst the fragments of the remaining endemic cloud forest.

What additionally makes this superbly created species particular is the truth that as just lately as 2017, the Spiky Yellow Woodlouse was discovered to glow underneath UV mild.

St Helena Tree Fern

Tree fern thicket. Credit score: Amy Jayne Dutton

One other iconic species discovered throughout the cloud forest of the Peaks Nationwide Park is the St Helena Tree Fern or Dicksonia arborescens.

Whereas being a important part of the cloud forest habitat, the endemic St Helena Tree Fern additionally acts as a pure nursery for a lot of species of native wildlife discovered within the cloud forest, making it all of the extra important.

Conservation work on St Helena to extend the numbers of the St Helena Tree Fern has reaped constructive outcomes through the years. Nevertheless, threats resembling local weather change and non-native invasive species imply that this species continues to be listed as susceptible and at menace of extinction by the Worldwide Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

These are simply three of the a whole bunch of exceptional species which can be solely present in St Helena’s distinctive and treasured cloud forest. However many threats, together with the introduction of invasive species such because the New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) in 1874, has put these and the numerous different endemics discovered there underneath critical menace. The St Helena Cloud Forest Challenge, one of the vital important and essential conservation initiatives underway on the planet, goals to enhance, restore, and recreate the cloud forest habitat, thus supporting the conservation of related species. The last word purpose is to safeguard an internationally essential wildlife hotspot and the island’s principal supply of water for generations to return.

St Helena Cloud Forest. Credit score: SHCFP/ Colby Thomas.

For extra info:

Fb: St Helena Peaks National Park

Twitter: StHelenaPeaksNP

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