Wetlands - Project completed!

Dr Steffi Carter

To ensure lasting project legacy we have produced two reports that provide guidance to Falkland Islands Government and other key stakeholders on how to carry on with some of the work started during the Wetlands Project. The key to understanding long-term environmental change is to monitor environmental variables but before any change can be detected; three to five years of baseline data is generally required due to naturally occurring seasonal and annual variations. Depending on which environment is to be monitored, a set of priority indicators of change should be observed regularly. For Falkland Islands aquatic terrestrial wetlands we have produced a list of nine indicators and suggested different monitoring scenarios. The background to these indicators and requirements for monitoring them are outlined in the project’s Indicator Monitoring Report.

Habitat action plans are a key framework to protect and restore habitats and conserve the species that live within them. These action plans are generally implemented through Government. To aid Government with the process of drawing up action plans, the Wetlands Project has produced recommendations to be incorporated. The Action Plan Recommendations include a summary of the different types of aquatic terrestrial waterbodies encountered during the project fieldwork and identifies pressures and threats that may affect these habitats. The report concludes with action recommendations to mitigate against these, which we classified into five categories: policy & legislation, habitat & species management, stakeholder engagement, monitoring and research. The full report can be accessed here.

Even though the project has ended, we follow our own recommendations and carry on with monitoring of certain indicators. During the Wetlands Project we set up 6 logger stations, three in streams and three in ponds (please see image below). Five of these stations monitor water level, water temperature and light levels, and one station also monitors pH and conductivity. Project Manager Dr. Steffi Carter has been busy re-visiting these stations to download data and replace the batteries to ensure the stations last into the future. The next steps are data quality checks, data visualisation and data storage.

Locations of water loggers.
Left:  A logger station on Weddell Island monitoring water level, temperature and light levels.

Above: On the way to Weddell Island – a vast expense of waterbodies on West Falklands
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Ross Road, Falkland Islands
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