Lord Howe Island is undisputedly one of the most unique places on earth.
Lord Howe Island is considered to be an outstanding example of an island ecosystem developed from submarine volcanic activity.
The island’s isolation and its varied landscape of mountains, valleys, hills, lowlands and sea-cliffs have resulted in a diverse array of habitat types supporting many distinctive flora and fauna groups. Vegetation ranges from exposed coastal grasses and heath to lush mossy rainforest, shrouded in mist.
Lord Howe Island is home to a variety of unique and endemic species:
- The island has recorded 241 species of indigenous plants of which 113 (47%) are found nowhere else in the world. Lord Howe hosts four species of palms, the most famous of which is the Kentia Palm.
- 207 different bird species have been recorded on Lord Howe, 32 of which breed on the island, including the endangered Woodhen.
- Lord Howe is also reputed to have more seabird species breeding in higher numbers than anywhere else in Australia.
- More than 1,600 terrestrial insect species have been recorded, of which approximately 60% are found nowhere else in the world.
- Home to the world’s rarest insect – the Lord Howe Island Phasmid, a large stick insect – thought to be extinct, but rediscovered in recent years on Balls Pyramid.
- Lord Howe’s underwater world is equally rich and diverse, with new species being regularly discovered. The island’s waters play host to over 500 species of fish and 90 different coral species.
Its outstanding universal value is recognised in a World Heritage listing for exceptional diversity of spectacular and scenic landscapes and for its rich biodiversity including being home to many threatened and endemic species found nowhere else in the world.
Lord Howe Island’s community is deeply connected to the environment and many of the successful conservation projects that have been carried out over the last century have been pioneered by the community, who take great pride in ensuring the Island is protected.
The island’s small community of 350 people has a long history of successful and ongoing sustainability and conservation programs to protect and enhance the World Heritage values, include the development of the tourist bed cap – allowing only 400 visitors to visit Lord Howe at one time – the community driven recycling and waste reduction programs and a world class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the islands waste from land fill.
From a conservation and rehabilitation perspective the island has delivered many successful programs including eradication of feral pigs, cats and goats and recovery of species that were on the brink of extinction such as the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and Lord Howe Island Phasmid – the world’s rarest insect.
Lord Howe Island’s renowned pristine natural environment is maintained through world-class conservation efforts that began more than 100 years ago and continue today.