Niue

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.

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

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 cannot cope with predation or competition from new arrivals. Niue already suffers from the impact of invasive species that have arrived 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 arrival.

Feral and wandering domestic pigs collectively cause significant environmental damage in Niue, chiefly to coconut crab populations and to seedling coconuts. They also cause significant economic damage to plantations and domestic gardens.