Island and Oceanic Ecosystems
The Pacific Islands region covers 32 million sq km and is one of the richest complex of terrestrial and marine ecosystems on Earth, with habitats ranging from mountain forest ecosystems to volcanic islands and low lying coral atolls. Amazingly, land makes up less than 2 percent of a region that includes over 7500 small volcanic islands and coral atolls. The huge expanse of ocean supports the most extensive and diverse coral reefs in the world, the largest tuna fishery, the deepest oceanic trenches and the healthiest and in some cases, largest remaining populations of many globally rare and threatened species including whales, sea turtles, dugongs and saltwater crocodiles.
The Island and Oceanic Ecosystems will be assisting the Pacific region through two inter-related programmes – i) the Marine and Coastal programme; and ii) Ecosystem and Terrestrial programme.