The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are scattered across the globe. Most are small islands or island complexes, occurring from the Caribbean to the furthest reaches of the South Atlantic, via the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
In terms of global biodiversity, these territories are remarkably significant. Among landscapes that range from coral atolls, through mangroves and dry forests to the ice sheets of Antarctica, the UKOTs support no fewer than 45 species of birds currently considered to be globally threatened. They are also home to a third of all the world's breeding albatrosses, and nine of the world's 17 species of penguin.
In a rapidly changing world, the UKOTs symbolize global crises in climate and biodiversity. Threats faced by their wildlife range from mortality of seabirds at sea through industrial fisheries, and on land as a result of introduced ground predators, to the utter devastation of hurricanes in the Caribbean, which provide a stark reminder of our changing climate. The human impact on the wildlife of our planet has been increasing for centuries, but the next few decades promise to be critical.
This book explores the birds and other wildlife of each of the 14 UKOTs, with a particular focus on environmental threats and conservation priorities. Written by authors with a deep connection to the sites, this book represents an important stocktake of the biological richness of these special places in the early 21st century.