Green Mountain

Green Mountain

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Green Mountain

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Green Mountain is a common name for "The Peak", the highest point, on Ascension Island which has gained some fame for claims that it is one of very few large-scale artificial forests.

History and Vegetation

Many early 19th century accounts, including Charles Darwin's (July 1836), described the volcanic island as barren with very few plants, some of them endemic to the island, not to be found anywhere else. Scientists estimate the island's native vascular plants to be between 25 and 30 species, 10 of them endemic to Ascension (Ashmole 2000, Gray et al. 2005). This impoverished flora is a consequence of the age of the island (only 1 million years old) and isolation (over - from any major landmass). Then, in 1843, the British plant collector Joseph Dalton Hooker visited the island with Sir James Clark Ross's Antarctica expedition. Hooker proposed a plan to plant the island with vegetation to attempt to increase rainfall and make life more bearable for the garrison that was stationed there (see Duffey 1964). Crucially he saw the appointment of a farm superintendent as being the key to success.

From that time on many plants have been introduced and Hooker's plan can be seen from one angle as an overwhelming success. An 1865 Admiralty report stated on the subject of Green Mountain that "(the island) now possesses thickets of 40 kinds of trees, besides numerous shrubs; through the spreading of vegetation, the water supply is now...
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