Welcome to the Balsam Blog, home in the internet world of the Falkland Islands Protected Areas Project.

I'll be using this blog to let people know what I've been up to and to share bits of useful information I pick up along the way. My project is subtitled 'Co-operative management of biological diversity', so that means you. The project will need your knowledge, concerns and hopes for the future to drive it along, so do contribute.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Definitely not a jolly: Part 1

It was represented to me by a dear friend yesterday that I have been spending an amount of time doing some things not directly connected with my project. Although it's only just over a week in total, it does feel like longer that that, probably because of the amount I learnt by being out and about and seeing things at first hand. Anyway.......

Thistle Bashing on Saunders Island

How did they get there? Nobody knows, but they are there, although not in as great numbers as before Richard Lewis, Brian Summers and their dedicated band of thistle tamers got to work with chisel hoes and herbicide. This trip was mainly about finding and mapping the thistles  more effectively to target future bashing efforts. We did, however, kill as many as we could along the way. I also got to practice using my new GPS, a Christmas present to self after my time at Kew (I'm quite hoping Santa has forgotten I already had a present!).

Selecting thistles for death. Chisel hoe also doubles as handy walking pole, as long as you don't smack yourself in the ankle with it.

Goat impression

Beautiful Saunders Island

Things I learnt? Well Saunders is bigger than it looks, and we spent as long walking as we did working! I also saw why Saunders qualifies as an Important Plant Area and and Important Bird Area. I was last there in 2000, and I'm sure there is more of everything there now (and I'm not talking about thistles), so all the efforts of David and Suzan and family to look after their island are so worthwhile. I found out a bit about what it takes to keep places like this special. I've done a lot of reading recently about Environmental Stewardship Schemes, and the contribution they can make to protected areas planning, but there isn't any substitute for getting out and finding out at first hand what sort of support landowners might want in the Falkland Islands.
Thanks Richard for inviting us on the trip, and thanks to David and Suzan for their warm welcome.

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