The advent of agriculture ushered in an unprecedented increase in the human population and their domesticated animals. Farming catalyzed the transformation of hunter-gatherers...
Fiji tropical moist forestsLast Updated on 2014-04-24 17:32:19
The tropical moist forests of Fiji and the Wallis and Futuna Islands contain the richest natural communities of all the oceanic islands of the Pacific (not including New Caledonia). Their relative isolation, large size and complex topography, and unusual biogeographic history have all contributed to the archipelagos' highly endemic biota. Over half of the vascular plant species are endemic, with many single-island and single-site endemics. Twenty-five birds occur only in Fiji (plus one on Rotuma) and most of the reptiles, amphibians, bats, and invertebrates are unique to the islands. The biota is derived from ancient Gondwanaland elements, including one of the world's most primitive plant families endemic to the islands, and taxa that have dispersed across the ocean.
The more than 300 islands of Fiji are located 3,000 km east of Australia at 16-20 °S... More »
Eastern Micronesia tropical moist forestsLast Updated on 2014-04-24 17:27:33
This archipelago of low coral limestone islands and atolls, the scene of bloody conflict during World War II (WWII), contains relatively low floral and faunal diversity due to their small size, low habitat diversity, and harsh saline environment. Human development has altered much of the natural habitat of these islands. Several islands were used as nuclear weapons test sites, while others, which have favorable soil enriched by seabird guano, have been cleared for coconut plantations.
This ecoregion comprises Wake Island, the Marshall Islands as well as the Gilbert Islands group and Nauru. The influence of centuries of human habitation, coconut planting, and violence associated with WWII on the existing vegetation should not be underestimated. Wake is a small, isolated atoll between the Marshalls and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. There are three vegetation types: a... More »
Cook Islands tropical moist forestsLast Updated on 2014-04-24 17:19:20
The southern Cook Islands extend 450 km from north to south, and encompass a diversity of terrain ranging from the ancient, steep volcanic cone of Rarotonga to the "almost-atoll" of Aitutake. Although little native vegetation remains in the accessible lowland zones, significant areas of fairly intact montane rain and cloud forest can still be found on the upper slopes of Rarotonga. These forests are some of the best remaining examples of primary montane rain and cloud forest in Eastern Polynesia.
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 km east of Niue, the southern Cooks include nine main islands: Palmerston Atoll, Aitutake, Manuae (Hervey), Takutea, Miti’aro, Atiu, Ma’uke, Rarotonga, and Mangaia. The islands are in the southeast trade wind belt, and the climate is tropical, with the wettest months being November and December. The larger,... More »
Central Polynesian tropical moist forestsLast Updated on 2014-04-24 17:11:35
This ecoregion covers eight inhabited and nine uninhabited atolls and sand islands straddling the equator. Climate of the islands ranges from continually wet to chronically drought-stricken depending on location in relation to the equator and the trade wind belt. The majority of these islands have been heavily disturbed by military activities and phosphate mining though the area does includes some of the largest seabird colonies in the world, including millions of sooty terns and wedge-tailed shearwaters.
There are a number of archipelagos in this region, including the northern Line Islands, southern Line Islands, and northern Cook Islands. Isolated Johnston is also included in this ecoregion. All islands are atolls with open or closed lagoons or are raised reef platforms with most land area less than 4 meters (m) above sea level. Much of the land area would have been... More »
Carolines tropical moist forestsLast Updated on 2014-04-24 16:49:04
The Caroline Islands consist of atolls and high volcanic islands covered with lowland, montane, and cloud forest. Once covered in native evergreen forest, the higher islands are habitat to many endemic plants, reptiles, invertebrates, bats, and birds. The high islands support distinctive biotas because of their isolation, great age, and regional proximity to rich Southeast Asian biotas. Natural forests have been diminished significantly by human activities and many native species are threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and introduced species.
The Caroline Island group extends from northwest to southeast over a wide swath of the North Pacific Ocean. Moving from northwest to southeast, this ecoregion includes the outer islands of Yap State, known as the Remetau Group, and the States of Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. The Chuuk islands are a classic example of an... More »
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