Heard and McDonald Islands
Heard Island and McDonald Islands are located in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,700 km from the Antarctic continent and 4,100 km south-west of Perth. As the only volcanically active subantarctic islands they ‘open a window into the earth’, thus providing the opportunity to observe ongoing geomorphic processes and glacial dynamics. The distinctive conservation value of Heard and McDonald – one of the world’s rare pristine island ecosystems – lies in the complete absence of alien plants and animals, as well as human impact. © UNESCO
2020 Conservation Outlook
The current management plan is effectively structured to conserve the sites values, however to address the threats to the site more effectively, contemporary information on the main threats of climate change and non-native species invasion is urgently required. The findings of the most recent marine research voyage undertaken in 2016 provided some valuable new information on the marine environment, but information on the state of terrestrial ecosystems that contribute significantly to the values of the site are now seriously dated, with the last terrestrial research on the island undertaken in 2003/04. Overall, the site’s isolation reduces opportunities for human impacts to the site’s values and it is considered unlikely that threats to the values will increase in the near future. However, rapid deglaciation on Heard Island is likely to facilitate the expansion of the invasive grass Poa annua – with unknown consequences for the terrestrial ecosystems there.
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Outstanding examples of significant on-going geological processes occurring in an essentially undisturbed environment
Evolution and development of island ecosystems
The major limitation to the management system lies mainly in the difficulty of implementing the management outcomes given the lack of on-site operations and the large area of the site. Enforcement of conditions applied to all visits relies on self-regulation and compliance by visitors (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
|№||Organization||Brief description of Active Projects||Website|
|1||Australian Fisheries Management Authority||Observer program on commercial fishing vessels within EEZ to document wildlife interactions with fisheries activities.||
|2||Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)||Regional conservation organisation, that also manages fisheries.||
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Allen, A. and Cavicchioli, R. (2017). Microbial communities of aquatic environments on Heard Island characterized by pyrotag sequencing and environmental data, Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 44480. Published online 2017 Mar 14. doi: 10.1038/srep44480
Auman, H.J., Woehler, E.J., Riddle, M.J. and Burton, H.R. (2004). Plastic debris ingestion by seabirds at subantarctic Heard Island. Marine Ornithology 32, 105-106.
Australian Government (1987). Territory of Heard and McDonald Islands. Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987.
Australian Government. (2014). Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management Plan 2014-2024. [online] Available at: http://heardisland.antarctica.gov.au/protection-and-managem… (Accessed 22 October 2019).
Bergstrom D.M., et al. (2015), Rapid collapse of a sub-Antarctic alpine ecosystem: the role of climate and pathogens, Journal Applied Ecology, 52(3): 774-783.
BirdLife International (2020). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Heard and McDonald Islands. [online] Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/heard-and-mcdon…-(to-australia) (Access 23 January 2020).
Brooks, C. M., Epstein, G. and Ban, N. (2019). Managing marine protected areas in remote areas: The case of the subantarctic Heard and McDonald Islands. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 631.
CSIRO (2017). National Marine Facility, Heard Earth-Ocean-Biosphere Interactions. [online]. Available at: <http://www.mnf.csiro.au/Voyages/Investigator-schedules/Plan…;
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Crawford, R., Ellenberg, U., Frere, E., Hagen, C., Baird, K., Brewin, P., Crofts, S., Glass, J., Mattern, T., Pompert, J., Ross, K., Kemper, J., Ludynia, K., Sherley, R., Steinfurth, A., Suazo, C.G., Yorio, P., Tamini, L., Mangel, J., Bugoni, L., Uzcategui, G., Simeone, A., Luna-Jorquera, G., Gandini, P., Woehler, E.J., Pütz, K., Dann, P., Chiaradia, A., Small, C. (2017). Tangled and drowned: A global review of penguin bycatch in fisheries. Endangered Species Research 34, 373-396. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00869
Donoghue, S. (2006). Fluctuations of Heard Island glaciers 2012-2014. Australian Antarctic Division, 2016.
Eriksson, C., Burton, H., Fitch, S., Schulz, M., van den Hoff, J. (2012). Daily accumulation rates of marine debris on sub-Antarctic island beaches. Marine Pollution Bulletin 66, 199-208.
Green, K. (2006). Heard Island – the later ANARE years 1963 – 2004. In: Green, K. and Woehler, E.J. (eds). Heard Island, Southern Ocean Sentinel. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, pp 231-253.
Green, K. and Woehler, E.J. [editors] (2006). Heard Island, Southern Ocean Sentinel. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, viii+270pp.
Holmes, T.M., Wuttig, K., Chase, Z., van der Merwe, P., Townsend, A.T., Schallenberg, C., Tonnard, M., Bowie, A.R. (2019). Iron availability influences nutrient drawdown in the Heard and McDonald Islands region, Southern Ocean. Marine Chemistry, 211, pp. 1-14.
Houghton, M., Terauds, A., Merritt, D., Driessen, M. and Shaw, J., (2019). The impacts of non-native species on the invertebrates of Southern Ocean Islands. Journal of Insect Conservation, pp.1-18.
IUCN Consultation (2017). IUCN World Heritage Confidential Consultation: Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia.
IUCN Consultation (2020a). IUCN World Heritage Confidential Consultation: Respondent 1. Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia.
IUCN Consultation (2020b). IUCN World Heritage Confidential Consultation: Respondent 2. Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia.
IUCN Consultation (2020c). IUCN World Heritage Confidential Consultation: Respondent 3. Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia.
IUCN Consultation (2020d). IUCN World Heritage Confidential Consultation: Respondent 4. Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia.
Isobe, A., Uchiyama-Matsumoto, K., Uchida, K., Tokai, T. (2017). Microplastics in the Southern Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin Volume 114, Issue 1, pp. 623-626. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.09.037
Kawaguchi, S., Ishida, A., King, R., Raymond, B., Waller, N. et al. (2013). Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification. Nature Climate Change, London3.9 (Sep 2013): 843–847.
Klekociuk, A. and Wienecke, B. (2017). Australia state of the environment 2016: Antarctic environment, independent report to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Energy, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra.
McMahon, C. R., New, L. F., Fairley, E. J., Hindell, M. A. and Burton, H. R. (2015). The effects of body size and climate on post-weaning survival of elephant seals at Heard Island. J Zool, 297: 301–308. doi:10.1111/jzo.12279
Meyer, L., Constable, A., and Williams, R. (2000). Conservation of Marine Habitats in the Region of Heard Island and McDonald Islands. Fountain Valley, CA: Kingston Technology.
Munro, G.D. (2006). “Waiting on the weather” – the ANARE years 1947-1955. In: Green, K. and Woehler, E.J. (eds). Heard Island, Southern Ocean Sentinel. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, pp. 202-230.
Pérez-Tribouillier, H., Noble, T.L., Townsend, A.T., Bowie, A.R., Chase, Z. (2019). Pre-concentration of thorium and neodymium isotopes using Nobias chelating resin: Method development and application to chromatographic separation. Talanta, 202, pp. 600-609.
Rodríguez, A., Arcos, J.M., Bretagnolle, V., Dias, M.P., Holmes, N.D., Louzao, M., Provencher, J., Raine, A.F., Ramírez, F., Rodríguez, B., Ronconi, R.A., Taylor, R.S., Bonnaud, E., Borrelle, S., Cortés, V., Descamps, S., Friesen, V.L., Genovart, M., Hedd, A., Hodum, P., Humphries, G., Le Corre, M., Lebarbenchon, C., Martin, R., Melvin, E.F., Montevecchi, W.A., Pinet, P., Pollet, I.L., Ramos, R., Russell, J.C., Ryan, P.G., Sanz-Aguilar, A., Spatz, D., Travers, M., Votier, S.C., Wanless, R., Woehler, E., Chiaradia, C. (2019). Future directions in conservation research on petrels and shearwaters. Frontiers in Marine Science (Marine Megafauna) vol 6, art 94. Available at: <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2019.000…;
Schmieder, R.W. (2016). Post-Expedition Report to the Australian Antarctic Division. Available at: <http://www.heardisland.org/HD_documents/AAD_Final_Report/CE…; [Accessed 29 November 2020].
Schortemeyer, M,, Evans, J.R., Bruhn, D., Bergstrom, D.M., Ball, M.C. (2015). Temperature responses of photosynthesis and respiration in a sub-Antarctic megaherb from Heard Island. Functional Plant Biology 42, 552-564.
Scott, J.J., Kirkpatrick, J.B. (2005). Changes in subantarctic Heard Island vegetation at sites occupied by Poa annua, 1987-2000. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 37, 366-371.
Woehler, E.J. (2006). Status and conservation of the seabirds of Heard Island and the McDonald Islands. In: Green, K. and Woehler, E.J. (eds). Heard Island, Southern Ocean Sentinel. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, pp. 128-165.
Wojtasiewicz, B., Trull, T. W., Clementson, L. A., Davies, D., Patten, N., Schallenberg, C., & Hardman-Mountford, N. J. (2019). Factors controlling the lack of phytoplankton biomass in naturally iron fertilized waters near Heard and McDonald islands in the Southern Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 531.
World Heritage Committee (1997). Decision CONF 208 VIII.A. Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia). [online] Available at: <http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/577/documents/> [Accessed 29 November 2020].
World Heritage Committee. (2012a). Decision 36 COM 8E. Adoption of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value- Heard & McDonald Islands (Australia). [online] UNESCO. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/577/documents/ (Accessed 22 January 2019).
World Heritage Committee. (2012b). Decision 36 COM 8D. Clarifications of property boundaries and areas by States Parties in response to the Retrospective Inventory- Heard & McDonald Islands (Australia). [online] UNESCO. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/577/documents/ (Accessed 22 January 2019).