Kiribati

This document is a product of the GEF-PAS regional invasive species project 'Prevention, control and management of invasive alien species in the Pacific Islands' implemented by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and executed by SPREP.

Kiribati’s marine ecosystems are worth at least AU$400 million per year, which is twice the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). We are strongly committed to sustaining these values to build an equitable and pros-perous blue economy

The Republic of Kiribati requested assistance from the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, to conduct a survey of invasive plant species of environmental concern. Similar surveys have been conducted in American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Samoa and Tonga. The survey was carried out in August and September 2003.

The Pacific islands of Oceania cover almost 15% of the world's surface and are characterised by a high degree of ecosystem and species diversity. The region is characterised by thousands of isolated small coral atolls and higher volcanic islands, which has led to the high diversity of species found today. In fact, the number of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth (endemic species) is extremely high - often up to 90% for particular groups. Often, these rare and endemic species are adapted to specialised habitats and limited to small areas of a few islands.

This study describes the biodiversity values of Malden Island, Kiribati, and assesses the potential benefits, feasibility and costs of removing key invasive species. Malden is relatively pest-free, but two significant invasive species are present - feral house cats and house mice. We believe that the most cost-effective and beneficial conservation action in the short term for Kiribati is to undertake a cat eradication programme.