Jersey

About the territory

The earliest evidence of human activity on Jersey dates to about 250,000 years ago when hunters used the caves as a base for hunting mammoth. Jersey was part of the continent until approximately 8,000 years when it became an island. Norman rule lasted until 1204 when the Channel Islands pledged allegiance to England.

The Bailiwick of Jersey is located in the English Channel at latitude 49° 13’ North, 2° 12’ West, approximately 161 km south of England and 22km west of the Cotentin Peninsula, France. Average summer temperatures are 13-19°C, average winter temperatures are 9.7-15.3°C. Annual rainfall averages about 900mm.

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, with the other islands of the Bailiwick being Les Minquiers, Les Écréhous, Les Pierres de Lecq and Les Dirouilles. The total land area of the Bailiwick of Jersey is 116 km2. Jersey has a population of about 97,857 (2011 census), a third of which live in the capital, Saint Helier. None of the other islands have a permanent population. Tourism, farming and the finance industry are very important to the economy of Jersey.

Biodiversity

Over half of Jersey consists of arable farmland and pasture, with woodlands covering only a small percentage of Jersey’s total land surface. Semi-natural habitats cover about 26% of Jersey, its wetlands, heathland and sand dunes support a large amount of Jersey’s biodiversity.

The JNCC lists 66 protected plant species and 18 protected wild animal species. All species of bat, dolphin, seal, porpoise and turtle are protected; for the full list see http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/PDF/ot_biodiversity_jersey_appendices.pdf. Eleven species of bat have been recorded by the bat conservation trust, this includes possible vagrants. 326 avian species are recorded on the Working List of Birds of the Channel Islands 2013.

All birds are protected in Jersey apart from magpie Pica pica, crow Corvus corone and feral pigeon Columba livia. A total of eight indigenous of amphibian and reptile are currently known from the Bailiwick of Jersey. The Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta is the only introduced species. No endemic species are present. The butterfly guide by Mick Dryden (2014) includes records of 45 species of butterfly. Although some species have suffered severe declines, most of these areas are now protected.

Policy/strategy background

The Bailiwick of Jersey has been included in the UK’s ratification of several multilateral environmental agreements (MEA’s); Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Convention on Migratory Species, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the World Heritage Convention. Other policies relating to conservation in Jersey include; Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000, a Law relating to the conservation of wild animals; Conservation of Wildlife (Protected Plants) (Jersey) Order, 2009, an Order under the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000 that lists plants which are to be protected; Biodiversity Action Plans, the first set of action plans tackle 51 species that are protected, rare, declining or significant in Jersey. Biodiversity Strategy, 2000, the aim of the Biodiversity Strategy is to conserve and enhance biological diversity in Jersey and to contribute towards the conservation of global biodiversity when appropriate.

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