Plateau des Tourbières

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Amsterdam Island, showing the Plateau des Tourbières taking up much of the western (left-hand) side of the island
Amsterdam albatross feeding its chick

The Plateau des Tourbières (in English the Plateau of Bogs) comprises the highest upland region of Amsterdam Island, a small French territory in the southern Indian Ocean. Over 500 m above sea level, it contains the island’s highest peaks: Mont de la Dives (881 m), Grande Marmite (742 m) and Mont Fernand (731 m).


The lower-lying areas of the island were mainly covered by a woodland of Phylica arborea trees mixed with ferns before the vegetation was devastated by a combination of wood-cutting, anthropogenic wildfire and grazing by feral cattle, and became replaced by exotic grassland. The vegetation of the plateau, however, was not grazed by the cattle and remains in a largely natural state, consisting mainly of sphagnum bogs and mosses, with the dwarf shrub Acaena magellanica.[1]

Important Bird Area[edit]

The plateau has been identified as an 800 ha Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it is the only breeding site in the world for the critically endangered Amsterdam albatross.[2] The species has a biennial breeding system with an average of 20 pairs breeding each year in a loose colony on the plateau. The total population of the albatross is about 150 individuals. The only other bird present is the brown skua, with some 40 breeding pairs.[3]



  1. ^ Berteaux & Micol (1992).
  2. ^ IUCN 2010).
  3. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Plateau des Tourbières. Downloaded from on 2012-01-08.


Coordinates: 37°51′S 77°33′E / 37.850°S 77.550°E / -37.850; 77.550