GUEST POST: Lord Howe Island – Protecting Paradise
If you demand more from your next eco adventure, why not be a part of one of the most significant conservation programs in Australia.
Lord Howe Island is one of the most remarkable places on Earth. It’s a place of dramatically contrasting beauty, from the imposing volcanic peaks of Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird rising sharply out of the sea to the spectacular underwater serenity of the world’s most southerly coral reef, home to 90 species of coral and over 500 species of fish.
The island’s outstanding universal value is recognised in its World Heritage listing for exceptional diversity of spectacular and scenic landscapes and for its rich biodiversity including many threatened and endemic species found nowhere else in the world, as well as being a seasonal habitat to millions of seabirds.
However, not content to rest on its laurels, the island’s small community of 350 people has a long history of successful and ongoing sustainability and conservation programs to protect and enhance the World Heritage values.
Sustainability initiatives include development constraints such as the tourist bed cap of 400 people at any one time, community driven recycling and waste reduction programs and a world class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the islands waste from land fill.
From a conservation and rehabilitation perspective the island has delivered many successful programs over several decades including eradication of feral pigs, cats and goats and recovery of species that were on the brink of extinction such as the Lord Howe Woodhen and Phasmid -the world’s rarest insect. The island is also 10 years in to a 30 year weed eradication program targeting over 60 invasive weed species and is close to declaring a world first successful eradication of African Big-headed Ants.
The next positive step is the eradication of rats and mice, with an eradication project planned for winter 2018. Rodents are significantly impacting Lord Howe Island’s World Heritage values, including impacts to more than 70 species of plants and animals. Eradication of rodents will have significant benefits to the islands biodiversity, threatened species recovery and therefore improve the visitor experience. The $9.5M project will be the single biggest conservation action to date on Lord Howe Island.
Whether you want to get hands on as a volunteer in the project, learn more about it from experts as it unfolds or you just want to sit back and relax, Lord Howe Island provides a unique and rewarding opportunity to be involved in a world class conservation effort and make a difference in the continued protection of this World Heritage treasure.
Visit: www.lhirodenteradicationproject.org for details on how you can get involved.
Photo credits: Elizabeth Allnut, Kenny Lees