South Pacific Islands
and bird-watching | A
Return to South Pacific Region Index
Pacific is the greatest ocean on earth, has an area exceeding
that of all dry land on the planet and covers more than a
third of the planet's surface.
There are around 30,000 islands throughout the Pacific Basin,
which is four times more than are found in all other oceans
and seas combined, 7,500 of these occur in the South Pacific
and only 500 of these are inhabited. Some are the picture
postcard coral and sand islands, as above. Some, such as the
main islands of Fiji, Solomons and Samoa are quite large with
high and very rugged, weathered volcanic landscapes. There
are many active volcanoes, particularly in Vanuatu.
And others, like Rennell and Bellona in the Solomon Islands,
are ancient atolls that have been uplifted by tectonic activity.
The old lagoons either lake filled or shallow forested hollows.
New Caledonia is a chip off the old Gondwana block, with
species family links to Australia and New Zealand. Because
of these ancient links and it's position out in the Pacific
ocean, New Caledonia enjoys very high rates of endemism in
it's fauna and flora.
"The Pacific is the greatest
ocean on earth, has an area exceeding that of all dry
land on the planet and covers more than a third of the
(David Stanley, South Pacific Handbook)
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