Biodiversity overview

Ascension Island


JNCC works collaboratively with Ascension Island, primarily through the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department.



Sign up to the JNCC Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies bi-monthly bulletin to keep up to date with the work we are doing in Ascension and all the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.


Find out the latest news on environment in Ascension from the website of the Ascension Island Conservation Department, and the latest Ascension Conservation Quarterly is also available.





Funded participation in International conferences/workshops


JNCC is able to support the OTs and CDs with funding to attend international conferences and workshops.


Helping Islands Adapt Conference. 11th - 16th April 2010.

Olivia Renshaw attended a workshop in Auckland, New Zealand, funded by Defra through the JNCC. The Government of New Zealand were the hosts, with support received from a number of partner organisations. Approximately 82 participants from 24 countries and territories and 29 national, regional and international organisations attended the workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to identify and strengthen mechanisms that enable effective and sustainable alien invasive species (IAS) management for islands. The discussions focused on four main island regions – the Caribbean, the Coral Triangle, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.


Download Olivia's conference report (PDF, 348 kb).


South Atlantic regional hub

JNCC is coordinating its work in the South Atlantic  through a regional hub, based in the Falkland Islands. For more information contact the (please put OT in the subject line).


Other areas of support and advice

JNCC also provides support and advice to Overseas Territories in a number of other areas at the request of the UKOT governments. These areas include economic valuation, climate change, invasives species, accessing funding, and multilateral environmental agreements.


Blue Turtle Award

JNCC runs an annual Blue Turtle Award. People are encouraged to nominate Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies groups or individuals who are 'making a difference'.


Stedson Stroud, the Ascension Island Government Conservation and Sea Fisheries Officer was nominated for the 2010 Blue Turtle Award for 'passion for plant conservation including his involvement in the rediscovery of three plant species previously thought to be extinct'.


More information

2011 Geoconservation in the Overseas Territories of the UK by M. Stanley

The European Commission's OCT Environmental Profiles - these environmental profiles are set in a socio-economic, developmental perspective so that the findings can be used to assist in programming projects in the
framework of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

Amphibians and Reptiles of the UK OTs, CDs and SBAs: Species inventory and overview of conservation and research priorities by Paul Edgar of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

More information on climate change impacts in the South Atlantic Overseas Territories.

Environmental Education resources on Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

2009 Implications of climate change for Biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories by J.P. McWilliams.

2007 Environmental Economics in the Overseas Territories.

2006 Non-native species in the Overseas Territories a Review by Karen Varnham.

2005 Review of Ramsar sites in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies by Dr Mike Pienkowski.

1999 snapshot of Biodiversity in the Ascension edited by Dr Vin Fleming and Deborah Procter JNCC.




Training and Research Programme Steering Group


Ascension Island is a member of the Training and Research Programme Steering Group which drives the direction of the OT Training and Research Programme.


Research Priorities 2011


JNCC asks the OTs and CDs for information about their top 3 research priorities each year via members of the OT and CD Training and Research Programme Steering Group. These priorities are used to inform a number of funding decisions including the JNCC Research Contributions.



JNCC is  able to support the OTs and CDs with funding to attend environmental training courses.


Natasha Williams from the Conservation Department on Ascension went on a Geographical information Systems training course from 8-19th November 2010.


Education Resources

A series of environmental education materials that were prepared by Ali Liddle for the Ascension Island Conservation Department under an OTEP funded project. Materials are targetted at primary schools. All are available for download here>>>



JNCC has contributed to projects in Ascension Island including:


Regional technical workshop hosted by Ascension

In June 2014 JNCC collaborated with the Ascension Island Government to run a regional workshop. The workshop brought together international and regional techinical experts to look at 4 work areas: Marine Protected Areas, Sustainable Fisheries, Seabird Monitoring and Biodiversity/Environmental Action Planning. The workshop report and presentations are available here>>


Green turtle population Project

In 2012 JNCC contributed funding to the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department towards their project to revise population estimates of green turtles using the Island as a hatchery, through the application of radio-telemetry.

The project had two aims:

Primary Aim: To establish using radio-telemetry, the number of clutches laid by individual green turtles (‘clutch frequency’) nesting at Ascension Island (AI) (the second largest rookery in the Atlantic) which is essential to enable accurate population size estimates to be calculated from beach monitoring data.

Secondary Aim: To provide training in radio-telemetry techniques to local conservation organisations and donate all necessary equipment to these organisations to enable future research.

Download the project report (PDF, 212 kb)

Following the conclusion of the project a research paper was written, and subsequently accepted by the journal Biological Conservation. If you have a subscription to the journal you can download the article. Otherwise you can  for a copy.

Nicola Weber, Sam B. Weber, Brendan J. Godley, Jacqui Ellick, Matthew Witt, Annette C. Broderick, Telemetry as a tool for improving estimates of marine turtle abundance, Biological Conservation Volume 167, November 2013, Pages 90–96


Endemic Plant restoration Project

In 2011, JNCC has contributed funding to the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department towards the Endemic Plant restoration Project .


Invasive species project

In 2010, for the International Year of Biodiversity, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has funded a series of invasive species projects across the UK Overseas Territories. This has been coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Project activities on the Ascension were:


  • The construction of a track to improve access to the south east coast of the island, to facilitate ongoing work on invasive alien species, and to minimise erosion and disturbance that is currently facilitating the spread of invasive alien species on the island.
  • The construction of a feral donkey enclosure to control numbers and reduce the risk associated with donkeys spreading the seeds of invasive alien plant species.
  • The construction of a safe storage area to house equipment and tools used for the monitoring and control of invasive alien species on the island.
  • Continued monitoring and assessment of the presence and impact of rodents on the island. Rodent bait will be purchased for the targeted control of rats in identified hotspots.
  • Continued monitoring and assessment of the presence and impact of invasive alien plant species throughout the island, and the targeted control of these invasive species. A range of urgently needed equipment and supplies will be purchased (including protective clothing, herbicide sprayers, brush-cutter blades, chainsaw parts).
  • Continued monitoring of high priority indigenous species that are affected by climate change and invasive alien species to track population status, and ascertain the efficacy of eradication and control interventions.
  • Re-establishment and monitoring of endemic plants in areas that have been cleared of invasive alien plant species

Download the project report (PDF, 37 kb)


Case Study - St. Helena and Ascension Cross-Territory Skill share

GIS training – January/February 2010 by Olivia Renshaw (Ascension Island Government Assistant Conservation Officer)

Len Coleman, the GIS specialist from St Helena visited Ascension for three weeks. Funding for his trip came from the OTEP endemic plant project (ASC 503). Len trained staff on the use of GIS and AEIOU (Ascension Environmental Information Operations Utility). Various AIG departments, Cable and Wireless, the School and the Police have benefited from Len’s visit. This training will allow us to make better use of the AEIOU. The purpose of the system is to assimilate available geographic information about the Island for environmental monitoring, management and planning to meet a range of obligations within Ascension Island’s Environment Charter.


Entering new datasets to keep the system up to date is essential for its intended purpose of environmental monitoring, management and planning. The plant census data from 2009 will be entered into the system, allowing us to map the current distribution of all the Islands endemic plants. This takes place on an annual basis and allows the distribution and populations of our endemic plants to be closely monitored. This data will assist with the updating of the endemic plants IUCN Red List category.


For the detailed report by Len Coleman, please click here.




Images copyright Anselmo Pelembe and Adrian Bowers.



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