The vegetation of these islands is largely conditioned by the very harsh prevailing climate. On South Georgia mosses and lichens outnumber flowering plants, while tussock dominates vascular plants. The South Sandwich Islands have a limited number of mosses and lichens and only a single species of vascular plant – the Antarctic Hair Grass (Deschampsia antarctica). At the same time, the landscape of South Sandwich Islands contains some extremely unusual ecosystems associated with geothermal activity – fumaroles, warm ground, and such.

Birds dominate the South Georgia vertebrate population, both in terms of number of species and total population. The South Sandwich Islands also host significant bird populations. Toothed cetaceans, which are found in the waters of South Georgia, include Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus), Orcas, also known as the Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) and several baleen whales.

The government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands has extended the maritime zone from 12 to 200 nautical miles and applies fishing restrictions. There are also three designated areas of high benthic biodiversity. Read more