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Nature

Nature

Numerous volumes describe the natural history of the island, documenting the endemic and endangered species ranging from the gumwood tree to the wire bird.  Millions of years in the making, these fragments from the wreck of an ancient world include tree ferns, black cabbage trees, Jellico, a native dogwood and the golden sail spider.   The Diana’s Peak National Park is a testament to the island’s pristine environment; a home to most of St. Helena’s endemic wildlife.   Of the 60 known native species of plant, 45 occur nowhere else (including the white ebony flower).  Of 1100 land invertebrates, 400 are unique to St Helena. At least six unique land birds once occurred on St Helena, only one (the wirebird) survives today. Ten shore fish are found only around the island, and a further 16 are found only here and at Ascension.

Discover nature on St Helena:

Golden Sail Spider
140429 Egg Island (54)
Old father live forever flower close up
Sandy Bay Barn 2 5654

Fauna

St Helena island has an incredible range of wildlife; its isolation over the 12 to 14 million years since its emergence from the sea has resulted in a unique range of animals found nowhere else in the world. 94% of the British endemic species lie within its Overseas Territories and of the 1,547 species, St Helena holds the most at over 500, and rising.  This means that the 47 sq. miles (122km²) of St Helena holds roughly 30% of all endemic species to be found in the UK and the British Overseas Territories.

Marine

Clear, warm waters, wrecks, and fascinating marine life make St Helena Island an enticing snorkelling and scuba diving destination. Dive site habitats vary from rocky reefs with caves and areas of boulders to cobbles and sand, all teeming with marine life and all within easy reach of the wharf in Jamestown.

Flora

The flora of St Helena is particularly diverse, with hundreds of endangered endemic species.  St Helena harbours at least 45 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world.

In recent years there has been a program to conserve and recreate the Great Wood (once home to a variety of birds, plants and insects) on the eastern corner of the island which commenced in 2000 – both island residents and visitors have contributed to the regrowth of the Millennium Forest, a former forestry stronghold.

Geology

The peak of an extinct volcano, only 47 square miles in surface area, just to the east of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the island has some of the most diverse scenery in the world.

The modern landscape reflects areas coated in naked rock and coloured paint pallet deserts, with higher interiors of green foliage.