Lord Howe Island Permanent Park Preserve (Lord Howe Island IBA)

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
The IBA is a chain of volcanic islands in the Tasman Sea comprising Lord Howe Island plus several outlying islands including, Balls Pyramid. Lord Howe Island is dominated by Mounts Gower (875 m) and Lidgbird (777m). Vegetation includes rainforest (dominated by Kentia Palm Howea forsterana), cloud forest and scrub, swamp forest, mangrove forest, coastal and cliff-top scrub, inland scrub and herbland, tussock grassland, shoreline and beach vegetation, and rocky islets (Pickard 1983). The climate is oceanic. The Lord Howe Island group is one of the major seabird breeding sites in the south-west Pacific Ocean and is home to the largest and most diverse community of breeding seabirds in Australia, as well as a number of endemic terrestrial birds. The Lord Howe Island Permanent Park Preserve covers 75% of Lord Howe Island, including the southern mountains and northern hills, Balls Pyramid and neighbouring Islands. The Preserve is similar to a National Park in terms of its management, however it is managed by the Lord Howe Board.

Key biodiversity
One hundred and eighty-two species of bird have been recorded at the Lord Howe Island group, including 20 resident landbirds, 14 breeding seabirds, 17 regular visitors and 120 vagrants (McAllan et al. 2004). The Lord Howe Island group is the only breeding locality in Australasia for White-bellied Storm-Petrel, approximately 500 pairs of which breed in the group, and one of only two breeding localities in Australasia for Kermadec Petrel, 50 to 100 pairs of which breed on Balls Pyramid (Baker et al. 2002). The group supports the southernmost breeding colonies in the world of Masked Booby (probably less than 500 pairs), Sooty Tern (more than 35,000 pairs), Common Noddy (more than 1000 pairs) and Black Noddy (200 nests in 2002-3) (Hutton 1991; McAllan et al. 2004; Priddel et al. 2005), and also several hundred pairs of Black-winged Petrels (McAllan et al. 2004). The group also supports endemic subspecies of several birds, including Pied Currawong, Golden Whistler and Silvereye (Hutton 1991). A number of endemic birds of the group are now extinct, including White Gallinule (killed by mariners and whalers for food), Lord Howe Gerygone (predation by rats), Robust White-eye (predation by rats), Norfolk Island Starling (predation by rats), and endemic subspecies of White-throated Pigeon (killed by mariners and whalers for food), Red-crowned Parakeet (killed by early settlers whom considered it an agricultural pest), Southern Boobook (competition with introduced Masked Owl and perhaps predation by rats), Grey Fantail, Tasman Starling and Island Thrush (predation by rats) (Hutton 1991).

Non-bird biodiversity: Over 70 endemic plants. Supports a number of endemic invertebrates including stag beetles and 50 species of snails including Placostylus bivaricosus. Balls Pyramid supports the only population of the Lord Howe Island Phasmid Dryococelus australis (Priddel et al. 2003).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Eradicate rodents and control introduced weeds. Strict quarantine measures should be adopted.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The Lord Howe Island group is a World Heritage Area. A long-term monitoring program exists for Lord Howe Woodhen. Rats are controlled within many areas of Kentia Palm and plans are underway to eradicate rodents from the Lord Howe Island group.

Protected areas
Lord Howe Island Permanent Park Preserve.

Land ownership
Private and Lord Howe Board

The nomination was prepared by the BIGNET IBA Taskforce with assistance from David Priddel and Ian Hutton.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lord Howe Island Permanent Park Preserve (Lord Howe Island IBA). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/02/2023.