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Lord Howe Island

From Academic Kids

Missing image
LordHoweIslandFromKimsLookout.jpg
Lord Howe Island showing Mts Lidgbird and Gower.

Lord Howe Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean 600km (375 miles) east of Australia. The island is in the state of New South Wales, Australia. [1] (http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/australia/balls_pyramid/howe.html) - maps

  • Location: Template:Coor d
  • Highest Point: Mount Gower, 875m (2870 feet)
  • Area: 14.6 km² (5.6 sq miles)
  • Population: 350 permanent residents. Tourists are restricted to 400 at any one time.

The Lord Howe Island group was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1982 in recognition of its unique beauty and biodiversity. Lord Howe Marine Park protects the waters surrounding the island group.

Contents

Geology

Lord Howe island is crescent-shaped, about 10km long and 1.5 km wide. It is an eroded remnant of a 6.9 million-year-old shield volcano. A coral reef and lagoon are protected inside the crescent-shape of the island. The Lord Howe seamount chain, defined by coral-capped guyots, continues to the north for 1000km (600 miles) and is probably the result of the Australian plate moving northward over a stationary hotspot (see plate tectonics).

Mount Lidgbird (777m, 2548 feet) and Mount Gower (875m, 2870 feet) dominate the south end of the island. They are both made of basalt rock, remnants of lava flows that once filled a large volcanic caldera. These lava flows occurred 6.4 million years ago, and were the last volcanic events on the island, which has subsequently eroded to what remains today.

Ball's Pyramid is a rocky islet located 16km (10 miles) south of Lord Howe Island, and also the remnant of an eroded volcano. It is the largest of several volcanic stacks that form islets in the area.

Lord Howe has a coral reef; at 31deg. S. this is the most southerly coral reef in the world.

Ecology

Lord Howe island is a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, known as the Lord Howe Island subtropical forests. It is part of the Australasia ecozone, and shares many biotic affinities with Australia, New Guinea, and New Caledonia. Lord Howe Island was never part of a continent, and all of its flora and fauna colonized the island from across the sea. Almost half of the island's native plants are endemic. One of the best known is Howea, an endemic genus of palms (Arecaceae) that are commonly known as kentia palms and make handsome houseplants. Several million are exported annually providing the only major industry on the island apart from tourism.

14 species of seabirds and 18 species of landbirds breed on the island group, including an endemic species, the Lord Howe Woodhen (Gallirallus sylvestris) and 3 endemic subspecies, the Lord Howe Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis contempta), the Lord Howe White-eye (Zosterops lateralis tephropleurus) and the Lord Howe Currawong (Strepera graculina crissalis).

A number of endemic bird species and subspecies have become extinct since the arrival of man on the island. The Lord Howe Swamphen or White Gallinule (Porphyrio albus), the White-throated Pigeon (Columba vitiensis godmanae), Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens) and the Tasman Booby (Sula tasmani) were eliminated by settlers during the nineteenth century. The accidental introduction of the Black Rat in the 1918 shipwreck of the Makambo triggered a second wave of extinctions including the Vinous-tinted Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus vinitinctus), the Robust White-eye (Zosterops strenuus) and the Lord Howe Starling (Alponis fusca hulliana), the Lord Howe Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa cervina) and the Lord Howe Gerygone (Gerygone insularis).

Only one native mammal remains on the islands, the Large Forest Bat (Eptesicus sagittula). The endemic bat species (Nyctophilus howensis) is known only from a skull and is now presumed extinct. The cause of its extinction may have been predation by Masked Owl, introduced to the island in the 1920s to control rats. The Masked Owl may also have caused the extinction of the Lord Howe Boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae albaria).

Two terrestrial reptiles are native to the island group: the skink (Leiolopisma lichenigera)) and the gecko (Phyllodactylus guentheri). Both are rare on the main island but more common on smaller islands offshore. The skink (Lampropholis delicata) and the tree frog (Litoria dentata) have been accidentally introduced from the Australian mainland in recent years.

The Lord Howe Island Phasmid (Dryococelus australis) disappeared from the main island soon after the introduction of Black rats . In 2001 a tiny population was discovered in a single (Melaleuca howeana) shrub on the slopes of Ball's Pyramid.

Over 400 fish species are found in the waters around Lord Howe including 9 endemic to the region. Over 80 species of coral occur in the reefs surrounding the islands.

About 10 percent of Lord Howe Island's forests have been cleared for agriculture, and another 20 percent has been disturbed by domestic cattle and feral sheep, goats, and pigs. Despite a large number of introduced species that harm Lord Howe's native flora and fauna, goats have recently been eliminated from the island, feral pig population has been reduced, and there are ongoing efforts to control rats, mice, and introduced plants. A recovery program has restored the Lord Howe Woodhen numbers from only 20 in 1970 to approximately 200.

History

Lord Howe Island was discovered in February 1788 by H.M.S Supply, commanded by Lieutenant Lidgbird Ball, who was on his way to Norfolk Island with convicts to start a settlement there. One of the mountains on the island is named after him. The island was uninhabited. It was named after an English admiral. First settlement was in 1833 with the island supplying passing ships with food and water.

Until the 1970s there was no airstrip and flying boats landed on the lagoon surrounded by the coral reef.

In 2002 the Royal Navy frigate HMS Nottingham struck Wolf Rock, a reef at Lord Howe Island, and was almost sunk.

External links

Template:World Heritage Sites In Australiada:Lord Howe Island de:Lord-Howe-Insel fr:le Lord Howe nl:Lord Howe-eiland ja:ロード・ハウ島 sv:Lord Howen

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