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Atolls - the “biodiversity cool spots” vs “hot spots”: a critical new focus for research and conservation

Thaman, Randolph R. (2008) Atolls - the “biodiversity cool spots” vs “hot spots”: a critical new focus for research and conservation. Micronesica, 40 (1/2). pp. 33-61. ISSN 0026-279X

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Abstract

This paper highlights the seriousness of the “biodiversity crisis” on atolls and the need to place greater research and conservation emphasis on atolls and other small island ecosystems. It presents a “snapshot” of the current status of atoll biodiversity, including associated marine biodiversity, and stresses that atolls are “biodiversity cool spots”, which, apart from, in some cases, very considerable marine resources, have among the poorest and most highly threatened biodiversity inheritances on Earth. Atoll societies and ecosystems are also widely believed to be the most seriously threatened by global climate change and associated sea level rise. This paper is based on studies over the past twenty years conducted in the atolls of Tuvalu, Tokelau, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia. It stresses that atolls offer some of the greatest opportunities for integrated studies of simplified small-island ecosystems, especially studies that involve local communities and local researchers, as have been emphasized by the Pacific Asia Biodiversity Transect Network (PABITRA). It is suggested that, if we are really worried mutual capacity building and sustainability of islands as human support systems, we must place higher priority on research on, and the conservation of, the Earth’s “cool spots”, such as the atolls and other biodiversity-poor small islands. Emphasis is also placed on the importance of the protection, recording and application of indigenous knowledge, here referred to as “ethnobiodiversity”, which when used in concert with the most up-to-date modern scientific knowledge, constitutes perhaps the most appropriate means of designing models for the sustainable use of small island ecosystems.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Ms Neha Harakh
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2008 10:39
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2012 20:28
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/222
UNSPECIFIED

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