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French Austral Lands and Seas

French Austral Lands and Seas

The French Austral Lands and Seas comprise the largest of the rare emerged landmasses in the southern Indian Ocean: the Crozet Archipelago, the Kerguelen Islands, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam Islands as well as 60 small sub-Antarctic islands. This ‘oasis’ in the middle of the Southern Ocean covers an area of more than 67 million ha and supports one of the highest concentrations of birds and marine mammals in the world. In particular, it has the largest population of King Penguins and Yellow-nosed albatrosses in the world. The remoteness of these islands from centres of human activity makes them extremely well-preserved showcases of biological evolution and a unique terrain for scientific research.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Terres et mers australes françaises

Les Terres et mers australes françaises englobent les plus grandes des rares terres émergées du sud de l’océan Indien : l’archipel Crozet, les îles Kerguelen, Saint-Paul et Amsterdam ainsi que 60 petits îlots situés dans la zone subantarctique. Cette « oasis » au cœur de l’océan Austral, qui couvre une superficie de plus de 67 millions d’hectares, abrite l’une des plus fortes concentrations d’oiseaux et de mammifères marins au monde. On y trouve notamment la plus grande population de manchots royaux et d’albatros de Carter au monde. Du fait de leur éloignement des centres d’activités humaines, ces îles sont des vitrines extrêmement bien préservées de l’évolution biologique, et elles constituent un terrain unique pour la recherche scientifique.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

الأراضي والبحار الفرنسية الجنوبية
يضم هذا الموقع أكبر مساحة من الأراضي القليلة جنوب المحيط الهندي، وهي: جزر كروزيت وجزر كيرغولين وسانت بول وأمستردام بالإضافة إلى ستين جزيرة صغيرة في منطقة ساب أنتاركتيكا. وتعد هذه "الواحة" الواقعة وسط المحيط الجنوبي، وتغطي مساحة قدرها 67 مليون هكتاراً، موطناً لأكبر أعداد الطيور والثدييات البحرية في العالم. ويوجد فيها أيضاً أكبر عدد من طيور البطريق الملكية وطيور القطرس ذات المنقار الأصفر في العالم. ونظراً لبعد الموقع عن مراكز النشاط البشري، تجسد الجزر فيها هي مسرحاً للتمتع بالتطور البيولوجي وتعدّ أرضاً فريدة لإجراء البحوث العلمية.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

法属南部领地和领海
该遗产地包括陆地稀少的南印度洋上最大的几个群岛和岛屿:克罗泽群岛、凯尔盖朗群岛、圣保罗岛和阿姆斯特丹岛,以及约60个小型亚南极岛屿。这片南半球海域上的“绿洲”总计占地6700万公顷,是全世界鸟类和海洋哺乳动物密度最高的地区之一,尤其帝企鹅和黄鼻信天翁数量居全球之冠。由于远离人类活动中心,这些岛屿保存状态完好,是生物演变历程的陈列馆和科学研究的独特场所。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Французские Южные территории и моря
Французские Южные территории и моря охватывают крупнейшие из немногих островов в южной части Индийского океана: архипелаг Крозе, острова Кергелен, Сен-Поль и Амстердам, а также 60 небольших субантарктических островов. Этот «оазис» в самом сердце Южного океана занимает площадь более 67 миллионов га и является местом одной из самых высоких концентраций птиц и морских млекопитающих в мире, в том числе королевских пингвинов и желтоклювых альбатросов. Ввиду своей удаленности от центров человеческой деятельности эти острова служат хорошо сохранившимся свидетельством биологической эволюции и представляют собой уникальную местность для проведения научных исследований.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Territorios y mares australes franceses
Este sitio engloba los más extensos de los escasos territorios emergidos al sur del Océano Índico, esto es, los Archipiélagos de Crozet y Kerguelen, así como las islas de Saint-Paul y Nueva Ámsterdam y sesenta islotes más. Situados en el océano Austral que rodea la Antártida, estos territorios y sus mares adyacentes, que cubren una superficie de más de 67 millones de hectáreas, son un remanso de paz para poblaciones de aves y mamíferos marinos que figuran entre las más densas del mundo, o incluso entre las más numerosas, como en el caso del pingüino rey y el albatros de pico amarillo. Debido a su alejamiento de los centros de actividades humanas, estas islas y mares ofrecen un muestrario prácticamente intacto de la evolución biológica y, por consiguiente, son lugares sumamente propicios para la realización de investigaciones científicas.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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Saint-Paul Islands © Nelly Gravier
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Located between the 37th and 50th parallels south, the French Austral Lands and Seas comprise the largest of the rare emerged lands of the southern Indian Ocean, including Crozet Archipelago, the Kerguelen Islands and Saint-Paul and Amsterdam Islands. Because of their oceanographic and geomorphological features, their waters are extremely productive and form the basis of a rich and diverse food web. This ‘oasis’ in the middle of the Southern Sea supports one of the world’s highest concentrations and diversities of marine birds and mammals. The grandiose volcanic landscapes that harbour this wild and abundant nature give this site its exceptional character.

Because of its huge size – more than 672 000 km2 –, this site contains a high representation of the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean and protects the ecological processes that are essential for these species to thrive. For this reason, the territory plays a key role in the health of oceans worldwide, particularly in the regulation of the carbon cycle.

As a result of their great distance from centres of human activities, the French Austral Lands and Seas are very well preserved showcases of biological evolution and therefore unique areas for scientific research, particularly for long-term monitoring of populations of marine birds and mammals and for the study of the effects of global change. Aware of this exceptional heritage, the authority of the French Austral Lands and Seas, through the nature reserve and with the commitment of the scientific community, has adopted a proven and recognized management system to ensure its preservation for future generations.

Criterion (vii): The French Austral Lands and Seas, with their pristine natural heritage, are one of the last wilderness areas on the planet. They feature a unique concentration of marine birds and mammals in the sub-Antarctic region, with enormous colonies where an abundance of species, sounds, colours and scents blend harmoniously. A few examples are the world’s largest colony of King Penguins on Île aux Cochons in Crozet Archipelago, the world’s biggest colony of Yellow-nosed Albatross on the sheer cliffs of Entrecasteaux on Amsterdam Island, and the second largest population of Elephant Seals in the world on Courbet Peninsula in Kerguelen. Grandiose volcanic landscapes teeming with life reinforce the exceptional character of the site. These territories stimulate the imagination and are a source of inspiration to anyone.

Criterion (ix): The French Austral Lands and Seas lie at the convergence of three ocean fronts and have large continental shelves. This makes them extremely productive areas in the midst of a relatively poor ocean, allowing the development of a rich and diverse food web.

The site is vast and includes one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Because of this, it features a high representation of the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean and the ecological processes that occur in it. It protects all the key areas to support the life cycles of species in the territory, thus ensuring the maintenance of high concentrations of marine birds and mammals. The importance of these primary productive areas and their role in the regulation of the carbon cycle make an essential contribution to the health of oceans.

These remote islands, which lie thousands of kilometres away from any continent and are protected from the impact of human activities, are true showcases of biological evolution and therefore unique models to monitor global changes.

Criterion (x): The French Austral Lands and Seas are an exceptional site for the conservation of the world’s birds. They are home to over 50 million birds of up to 47 species. Close to half of the global population of 16 of these species breeds on these islands. For example, they feature the largest population of King Penguin and Yellow-nosed Albatross in the world, as well as 8 endemic species such as the Amsterdam Albatross, a flagship species and one of the world’s rarest birds.

They also host large populations of Pinnipeds, including the second largest colony of Southern Elephant Seals and the third largest colony of sub-Antarctic Fur Seals in the world, and also cetaceans such as Commerson’s Dolphin, an endemic subspecies occurring in Kerguelen.

The species richness and diversity of the French Austral Lands and Seas, which is unique in the Southern Ocean, gives the site an Outstanding Universal Value.

Integrity

The ecosystems of the French Austral Lands and Seas, which are uninhabited and thus protected from the direct impact of human activities, feature large populations of native species in quasi-intact habitats, as well as complex and undisturbed ecological processes. The site is huge – it is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world with over 672 000 km2 – and covers all the functional areas that are essential for species’ life cycles, thus ensuring the maintenance of their richness and diversity in the long term. The integrity of the property is ensured by a high ecological connectivity and a common management system. The National Nature Reserve of the French Austral Lands and Seas, which is in charge of protecting the site, implements effective actions to address threats such as alien species, fisheries and global change, but also restoration activities such as the planting of Phylica arborea (on Amsterdam Island) and the dismantling of old structures. No development of human activities has been planned in the medium term.

Protection and management requirements

The property adheres to all international conventions supporting protection of its biodiversity: CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna), CMS (Convention on Migratory Species), CCAMLR (Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources), ACP (Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels), IWC (International Whaling Commission) and Ramsar (of which the original nature reserve designated in 2006 is a Ramsar site).

The French Austral Lands and Seas were designated as a national nature reserve in 2006 and enlarged in 2016 to cover more than 672 000 km². They have the highest level of protection that exists under French regulations. Since March 2017, the regulatory framework and the governance of the nature reserve also apply to the entire EEZ (exclusive economic zone), that is, over 1.66 million km². Human activities are strictly prohibited in almost a third of the site and regulated in the rest of the area through obligatory impact assessment and the agreement of the site manager. In addition, all the species of marine birds and mammals are strictly protected by French law and international conventions.

The TAAF Authority, which manages the nature reserve along with its management and scientific boards, implements a proven and recognized management system based on a ten-year management plan setting out the objectives. The threats are effectively managed, notably by measures to regulate introduced species and limiting the environmental impacts of fisheries. The management model can be adapted to global change thanks to the close relationship between science and management, achieved through historic partnerships with scientific laboratories, namely the French “Institut Polaire Paul Emile Victor” (IPEV).