Eden in Peril: Impact of Humans on Pacific Island Ecosystems

Moshe Rapaport
2006 Island Studies Journal  
Islands have often been cited as models of human impact upon the environment. With high rates of endemism and other unique characteristics, island ecosystems are subject to dramatic perturbation. The arrival of humans in Near Oceania during the Pleistocene led swiftly to a series of fauna extinctions. In the New Guinea Highlands clearing and tending of wild plants gave rise to tree and root crop agriculture, intensive cultivation technology, and anthropogenic grasslands. By 3600 BP (Before
more » ... nt), Lapita settlers had reached Remote Oceania, leading to deforestation and declines in birds and other species. European contact introduced new biota and new technology, with significant consequences for island environments and societies. Questions have been raised concerning the impact of climate change on island ecosystems. Population growth plays a significant role in environmental degradation, though not necessarily as a proximate cause. The Tikopian arboriculture system provides one of several Oceanic models of sustainability.
doi:10.24043/isj.190 fatcat:kim4depvazg5phghvk3xognhhe