Tussac Grass

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Tussac grass, which can grow up to 3m tall and live for 200 years or more, forms the single most important wildlife habitat in the Falklands.

Of the 62 birds breeding in the Islands, 46 use tussac for either nesting or feeding. Seals use tussac for shelter for breeding or as a hauling up ground. It is rich in invertebrates, many unique to the Islands.

Habitat

The Falklands is thought to support around 20% of the world’s Tussac Grass.

Tussac “bogs” can be 3 meters high and the plant sits above a skirt of dead leaves.

On islands which have never been burned or grazed, Tussac maybe the only plant present, – its canopy provides shelter from constant winds and protection from predatory birds.

The skirts are full of insects, such as Camel Crickets, and on islands without rodents they can be chattering with Cobb’s Wrens and Tussac Birds.

The pedestal and tussac peat beneath also homes burrowing birds, including Sooty Shearwaters and Magellanic Penguins.

Carbon Capture

Tussac lays-down carbon in its leafy skirts, known as pedestals, which gradually become tussac peat. Tussac peat can be over 10 meters high and 10 thousand years old! Studies suggest that the pedestals of established tussac plants store similar densities of carbon per hectare to forest in temperate regions.

Restoration

Historic grazing and burning has reduced the Falklands Tussac cover to around 20 % of its original area.

Much of the remaining tussac is on small islands.

However Falkland Islanders have been replanting tussac to support wildlife and sustainable grazing for over 100 years.

Falklands Conservation work with landowners to continue this tradition.

You can find out about restoration using tussac grass on the Habitat Restoration pages of this website, or download a leaflet below.

Go to Habitat Restoration
  • Leaflet-Tussac-Grass-Planting-and-Management Download

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