Niue

Invasive species are a major global threat to biodiversity and Pacific Islands are particularly vulnerable due to their isolation and relatively recent human occupation. Their native species often cannot cope with predation or competition from new arrivals. Niue already suffers from the impact of invasive species that have arrive in the country. However there are many more devastating species that are not present but found in other countries of the region and every effort needs to be made to prevent their arrivals.

On 6 January 2004. cyclone Heta devastated much of the South Pacific island nation of Niue. Extensive damage was done to forest, particularly of the north- western sector, with many trees up-rooted and others stripped of branches and foliage. This report details our findings from a survey of Niue's birds and rodents during 3-19 September 2004 and compares these with results from a similar survey in September 1994.

During 10–21 September, quantitative surveys were carried out of birds and flying foxes using the same techniques as applied in earlier surveys, and searches carried out for a rare parrot and lizard. Bird counts showed that the lupe or Pacific imperial-pigeon population has recovered following a decline between 1994 and 2004 though the current hunting rate is considered unsustainable. Miti or Polynesian starling numbers have gradually declined over the period 1994–2012 which is a concern and hard to explain. Rat predation is a possible cause.

On January 6, 2004, the full force of Cyclone Heta, a category 5 cyclone, hit the island of Niue. In addition to the loss of life and property, serious damage was done to the forests and

Progress report from Jack Craw to Josie Tamate (Directory General, Ministry of Natural Resources), Brendon Pasisi (Director DAFF), Sauni Tongatule (Director Department of Environment), David Moverly (SPREP) and Huggard Tongatule (Department of Environment).

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.