Islands of South Georgia

South Georgia     [924]
   Group: Archipelago: South Georgia
   Country: United Kingdom - Falkland- South Georgia   Region: South Atlantic
Lat: 54.48º S   Long : 36.90º W
Area: 3717.5 sq. km   Altitude: 2934 m
Shoreline: 700.1 km (scale 1:2500000)   Coastal Index: 0.1883
Depth to nearest land: 1000 m
Nearest island: 1350 km   group: 1350 km
Nearest continent: Antarctic    Distance: 1600 km    Isolation Index: 113
ISLAND TYPE: continental      Natural Protection Indicator: 1
Elongate mountainous island 170 km by 5-40 km, high coastal cliffs except to north, deep bays and fjords; quartzose and tuffaceous sedimentary rocks of Mesozoic-Cretaceous origin, scree slopes, leached soils, podzols and peat accumulations; glaciers over 60% of island, numerous glacial ponds and streams
CLIMATE: wet  subpolar  mean 2C (-2 to 5), 1500 mm
ECOSYSTEMS:           Number of Ecosystems - Terrestrial: 4    Marine: 1
Coastal tussock [Paradiochloa (Poa) flabellata] grassland, dry meadows, and wet heath up to 250 m, fellfield, moss/lichen communities above 250-300 m; ponds and streams; rocky shores with Macrocystis kelp offshore
SPECIES NUMBERS: Total Endemic Threatened (EVRI)
Plants  26 2 0
Butterflies 0 0 0
Land snails 0 0 0
Rept/Amphib 0 0 0
Land birds 5 2 0
Mammals 3 0 0

Plants: 26 native vascular plants, 2 endemics 125 mosses, 85 liverworts, 150 lichens Acaena magellanica georgiaeaustralis (herb) endemic Uncinia smithii (herb) endemic Invertebrates: 148 arthropods, 40 insects, 50 endemics 4 spiders 1 earthworm euchytraeids 1 land snail 10 freshwater crustacea Reptiles/amphibians: no indigenous species Birds: 5 terrestrial species, including: Anthus antarcticus (South Georgia Pipit) endemic Anas georgica (South Georgia Pintail) 24 breeding seabirds plus 26 visitors (more than half world populations in some cases) Mammals: 6 seals, 4 breeding Marine life: 10 endemic bottom-dwelling fish
SPECIES RICHNESS:   Species Richness Indicator - Terrestrial: 0  Marine: 1
ENDEMISM: Terrestrial:   Terrestrial Endemism Indicator - Island: 1  Group: 1
    2 plants, 2 birds
  Marine endemic species: 10   Marine Endemism Indicator - Island: 3  Group: 0
SPECIAL FEATURES :   Special Features Indicator - Terrestrial: 2   Marine: 1
  seabird/penguin rookery, seal rookeries
  many seals and whales
INVASIVE SPECIES:     Invasive Species Indicator: 3
  60 plants, Reindeer, rats, mice, invertebrates
Rangifer tarandus (Reindeer) introduced 1911, now number 2000
HUMAN OCCUPATION: Inhabited, research station and military garrison
  Population: 22 (1980)   Density: 0.0 persons/sq. km
  Maximum known population: 499
  Growth Rate: 0.0%/yr   Stable
  Major Human Activities: scientific research, military, limited tourism
Annexed by Captain Cook in 1775; centre of British and American sealing from 1790; several whaling stations 1904-1965, elephant seal industry 1910-1964, with population of 499 in 1964; British Antarctic Survey base established 1969, unoccupied since 1982; military garrison since 1982.
  Habitat: research/military bases   Urban Pop:Urban Indicator: 0
  Accessibility: port
Conservation support: tenure, government support, legislation
PROTECTED AREAS:    Protected Area Coverage Indicators - Terrestrial: 7  Marine: 0
  Number: 3   Area: Terrestrial: 3717.5 sq. km    Marine: 0 sq. km
Entire island is protected without special designation (375,600 ha) Cooper Island, Specially Protected Area (500 ha) Bird Island, Site of Special Scientific Interest (450 ha) Annenkov Island, Site of Special Scientific Interest (1,500 ha) Grytviken, Area of Special Tourist Interest Bay of Isles, Area of Special Tourist Interest Covered by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
DATA RELIABILITY: good    Data Rel. Indicator: 3
CI-Marine: 14   Moderate
Clark, M.R. and Dingwall, P.R. 1985. Conservation of islands in the Southern Ocean: a review of the protected areas of Insulantarctica. IUCN, Gland and Cambridge. 193 p. Johnson, Timothy H. 1989. Unpublished ICBP profiles of Atlantic islands.
Last updated: 15/09/90

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Page last updated: 02/03/98