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Location French Southern Territories, Îles Saint Paul and Amsterdam
Central coordinates 77o 33.00' East  37o 50.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 800 ha
Altitude 450 - 742m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description This plateau covers the highest part of Amsterdam in the centre-west of the island. The plateau is an ancient lava-flow now almost entirely covered with waterlogged peatbog. A number of craters are scattered across the site. Cats, rats and mice are present. The only human habitation on the island, a scientific research station which annually houses 20 or so scientists, is situated 3 km north of the site. The site itself is visited monthly, mostly for ornithological surveys.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. This is the only site at which the Critically endangered Diomedea amsterdamensis breeds. This species has a biennial breeding system such that each year an average of 20 pairs breed in a loose colony on the plateau. The total population of the species is approximately 150 individuals. The only other bird species present is Catharacta antarctica, of which 39 pairs breed.

Non-bird biodiversity: Ten species of endemic arthropod, one endemic fern and four endemic vascular plant species occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis breeding  1999  21 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Critically Endangered 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Antarctique francaise National Park 36,700 protected area contains site 800  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
not utilised -

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Brothers (1991), Jouventin (1994), Jouventin and Micol (1992), Jouventin and Roux (1985), Jouventin et al. (1984, 1988, 1996), Micol and Jouventin (1995), Roux et al. (1983), Weimerskirch and Jouventin (1997), Weimerskirch et al. (1997), Worthy and Jouventin (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Plateau des Tourbières. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife