Heard and McdonaldMcdonald and Heard
The Heard and McDonald Islands: World Heritage Site in Australia
Subantarctica's only two volcanos, the Heard and McDonald Isles, were chosen for their value in the study of ice science and geo-morphology. So where are the isles? The Heard and McDonald Island (HIMI) is an outer area of Australia, which consists of a group of sparse and sparse Arctic islets. They are about 1,056 leagues from the Arctic mainland and about 2,527 leagues south-west of Perth.
This archipelago has an area of 144 sq. m. and a 63-mile shoreline. The HIMI were found in the middle of the 19th c. and have been part of Australia since 1947. They are the only two volcanos in the land. They are the only volcanic sub-Antarctic island offering the tourist the possibility to watch the current geomorphological and glaciological process.
The Heard and McDonald Islands were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. HIMI is a truly wild environment that incorporates the exceptional and running biologic and physicochemistry in an area without man. The Heard Island is dominated by Big Ben, an energetic vulcano that rises to an altitude of 1.70 mile.
Snows and icebergs covers the area. Heard Island has relatively flat and fast-moving icebergs that react quickly to the changes in weather and are quicker than any other type of ice, which makes them important for controlling global warming. McDonald Island is much smaller than Heard Island, which covers about 100 ha and is encircled by several small rocky islets.
HIMI are excellent samples that illustrate the important environmental, biologic and evolving processes. They are free of imported endemic organisms and are an example of subantarctic island with a high bird and mammal herd. But the biodiversity on the island is low. This unspoilt eco-system provides an environment for environmental research that studies changes in the populations and the interplay of flora and fauna, and monitors the state of the Southern Ocean ecosystem's integrity and wellbeing.
The HIMI are part of the Southern Indian Ocean region of Tanzania, which includes several sub-Antarctic regions. This low biodiversity is due to the island isolations, the harsh weather and the constant climatic conditions, especially on Heard Island. Crucial factors determining island coverage are the amount of air pollution, available waters, nutrients and height.
Herbs are the most important part of the flora on these isles. HIMI's most important indigenous species are the insect and a large populations of sea fowl, seals and cetaceans. Heard Island's sealing farming has grown because of the shelter they have. HIMIs are important nesting grounds for a large number of species.
Ambient waters are an important food area for wildlife. Heard and Mc Donald Islands have 19 bird populations. The penguin is the most common bird on the islands, while 28 types of seabird have been registered on HIMI. The HIMI is administered by the Australian Antarctic Division through the HIMI Marine Reserves Management Plan as a stringent conservation area.
Like other World Heritage Sites in Australia, the island is sheltered by the 1999 Law on the Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity. Administrative tasks include maintaining rigorous visit and isolation controls to preserve the islands' environmental health and condition.