No data is available.
Wildlife such as elephant seals and penguin colonies can exert considerable impact when they move across or inhabit heritage sites. Overgrowth by plants on sub-Antarctic Islands can lead to obscuring of items, such as the headboards of graves at Heard Island, or lead to the break down of wooden structures. While no ‘hard’ data is available, some observations have been made. Also refer to indicators relating to the condition of individual structures in various Antarctica locations.
‘Sites located in the middle of penguin colonies leads to the scattering, obscuring of material, and the erosion of the sites. Trench 009, Lusitania Bay, showed that king penguins have been very effective in destroying the site so that only remnant material, close to larger structures remains. Excavation also showed the varied effect that wallowing seals had on remains. Their activities tend to alternatively expose and obscure material and generally work them out of position. They also tend to crush material’ (Source: Townrow K, 1989, Survey and Excavation of Historic Sites on Macquarie Island, Department of Lands, Parks and Wildlife, Tasmania).
‘Elephant seals were observed to wallow at a number of established and impromptu locations within and immediately adjacent to the Old ANARE Station (Atlas Cove, Heard Island). Observations at an established elephant seal wallow on the eastern side of the Medical Suite/Admiralty Hut building suggest that the seals do, in certain circumstances, cause damage to the buildings’.
‘Wallowing elephant seals have had a significant impact on some buildings (Heard Island). The internal space of the 14-sided huts (three in the Living Quarters complex and the Meteorology and Wireless Hut), once breached by the wind, may have proved attractive as wallows. Once occupied, the sheer size and bulk of these creatures would cause considerable damage to the buildings in a relatively short time’.
‘Evidence of bird droppings inside a number of buildings suggests that some structures are being used at certain times of the year as roosting sites. Whilst this appears to be low-key at present, on-going roosting may lead to a build up of droppings that could impact upon building fabric’ (Source: Vincent R, Grinbergs A, 2002, Atlas Cove, Heard Island Cultural Management Plan (Isolation, Ingenuity, Innovation and Experimentation: lessons for Antarctic expeditions from a ramshackle collection of old sheds (draft), Commonwealth of Australia, Kingston, Tasmania, p. 123).
‘The root systems of plants tend to break up pieces of wood although excavation showed that it could also act as a protective covering which often held the artefacts in place’ (Source: Townrow K, 1989, Survey and Excavation of Historic Sites on Macquarie Island, Department of Lands, Parks and Wildlife, Tasmania, p. 143).
‘Tussock grass (on Macquarie Island) is the most common vegetation found around coastal sites and can completely obscure objects after several years. Mosses and lichens may also grow on elevated structures. Vegetative growth on and around artefacts can have both positive and negative effects on wooden and iron objects. Iron artefacts hidden by tussock grass or buried in soil may experience less corrosion due to the formation of protective iron tannates around them and protection from wind abrasion and salt deposition. When wooden artefacts are in prolonged contact with moisture from vegetation or the ground, wood deterioration through hydrolysis can occur’.
‘Tussock grass is growing all around the base of the three digesters and one boiler (Buckles Bay Landing Beach Digester Site, Macquarie Island) and is contributing to the degradation of the wooden support beams’ (Source: Carmichael N, 2004, Macquarie Island Historic Heritage Sites Audit, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, Hobart, p. 6-7).
More heritage/archaeological surveys are required for a more complete understanding of the impact of flora and fauna on heritage sites and collections.
Australian Antarctic Territory — Cultural heritage aspects - Pressures and risks on heritage sites and collections
This indicator examines the impact of wildlife and flora on the condition of heritage sites.
Other indicators for this issue:
- AATH-09 Surveys of impacts of isolation on heritage sites
- AATH-10 Surveys of impacts of tourism on heritage sites
- AATH-11 Survey of impacts of uncontrolled visits on heritage sites
- AATH-12 Survey of impacts of weather on heritage sites
- AATH-14 Survey of impacts of hazardous material on heritage sites
Links to another web site
Links to data in the DRS
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