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St Helena is a small Atlantic island with an unusual and remarkable flora and fauna but with a legacy of ecological destruction typical of oceanic islands. The efforts of the island's governmental Endemic Section in the conservation of the flora and fauna is examined alongside the objectives of the section as listed in its current business plan. The worthy level of progress that is evident (including the rediscovery of species, habitat restoration and a high level of environmental awareness) is attributed to local ownership, an emphasis on education, and pragmatism and flexibility. The problems that limit the section's long-term effectiveness are funding, limited baseline ecological information and limited technical understanding.