Eradication of New Zealand flax Phormium tenax on Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands, Tristan da Cunha

  • Published source details Ryan P.G., Glass P.G., Glass T., Barendse J. & Cuthbert R.J. (2012) Eradication of New Zealand flax Phormium tenax on Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands, Tristan da Cunha. Conservation Evidence, 9, 58-62.


New Zealand flax Phormium tenax was introduced to Tristan da Cunha, an island in the central South Atlantic Ocean, in the 1800s. During the following century it was transferred to two other islands in the Tristan archipelago: Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands. Although not an aggressive invader, flax spread on both islands threatening their status as among the least disturbed temperate islands remaining in the Southern Ocean. In 2004 an eradication programme was initiated on both islands to clear flax using a combination of uprooting, cutting, crushing and spraying with herbicide. Despite some regrowth, follow-up operations greatly reduced the number of flax plants. Established plants are now confined to about 300 m of cliffs at the Waterfall on Inaccessible Island where clearing is hampered by the steep terrain. Further follow-up management is planned until the plant is eradicated from both islands.

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