Oceania | One Earth


Oceania is one of the world’s major biogeographical realms with 11 island bioregions stretching across the Pacific Ocean, including Polynesia, Micronesia, and Hawaii. Comprising over 4,500 islands all together, the land area of these bioregions is quite small, but their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) extend 200 nautical miles out from the coastline of each island, covering an enormous area. These islands contain an extremely wide range of ecosystems – from tropical rainforests and dry forests to mangroves and coastal wetlands – harboring more than 6,500 plant spaces half of which are endemic, or specially adapted to these islands. On land there are more than 340 vertebrate species, two-thirds of which are endemic. In terms of marine biodiversity, the Pacific Ocean is unparalleled with more species than any other ocean basin. 70% of the global fish catch comes from the Pacific, and overfishing has threatened many of the rare ecosystems of this realm. Fortunately, new research shows that by increasing marine protected areas in the region, biodiversity can be preserved while actually increasing harvests in adjacent fishery areas.