Oceania Plant Geography
The small, low coral islands have a species-poor flora
with screw palms, coconut palms and other widespread
species. By contrast, on larger coral islands and especially
on high islands of volcanic origin, such as Hawaii, Fiji and
New Caledonia, the species richness is large, and endemic
species make up 70-90% of the original flora. Species in the
banana and palm families are prominent just like fig species
and tree ferns; the bread fruit tree (Artocarpus)
is native to the area.
The latest estimates of the number of plant species are
for the Pacific Islands approx. 10,700 species. The largest
and most peculiar floras occur in Hawaii (about 1000
species), Fiji (about 1500 species) and New Caledonia (about
3200 species). New estimates for Australia and New Zealand
include approx. 25,700 species, and the total figure for
Oceania is estimated to be approx. 35,000 species.
New Caledonia has a very distinctive flora. endemic
conifers. The very primitive family Degeneriaceae (with a
single species, Degeneria vitiensis) is endemic in
the Fiji Islands. In Hawaii's flora, there is both an
American and a Malaysian element, and significant species
formation has occurred on the archipelago itself. Typical of
many species developed on oceanic islands are large fruits
and seeds and thereby a poor spreading ability.
Abbreviationfinder for all abbreviations and
definitions about Australia.
Fiji is located in the southern part of the tropics,
between the equator and the sun's southern (Capricorn)
turning circle. The largest islands are of volcanic origin,
many of the smaller ones are flat coral islands (ancient
atolls raised from the sea). The highest peak is the volcano
Tomaniivi on Viti Levu, 1323 meters above sea level.
Fiji has a tropical ocean climate, where the Southeastern
pass moderates the humid heat. The average temperature in
Suva (Viti Levu) is 23 °C in July-Aug, and 27 °C in
January-March. Average annual rainfall varies in the
different islands from 1400 mm in the west to over 5000 mm
in the east. Precipitation is consistently greatest on the
southeastern coasts, while the northwestern parts of the
islands remain in shelter for the southeastern pass. Suva
receives 2975 mm of precipitation a year; March is the
driest month and July is the driest.
Fiji traditionally experience an average of 10–15
cyclones per decade. Of these, perhaps one has been of
hurricane strength. Since 1985, however, both the frequency
of the cyclones, as well as the proportion of these with
hurricane strength, have increased.
Read more about Plant and wildlife at Fiji.
Plant and wildlife on Fiji
The vegetation follows the climatic pattern of
rainforests in the southeast and more sparse forests, reeds
and grass in the drier regions.
The only naturally occurring land mammals are bats; The
family of flying dogs is represented by several species,
including Samoa fly dog, which with wingspan of up to 1.5
meters is one of the world's largest bat species. Many cats,
dogs, pigs and goats occur in a lost state. The indiaman
gust (see mangosteen) was introduced to fight the rats that
humans had also brought. More than 120 bird species have
been observed, 90 of these nesting. The nesting birds
include storm birds, tropical birds, frigate birds, soles,
herons, kingdoms and terns. Among pigeons, parrots and honey
eaters there are many native species. A number of bird
species have been introduced in recent times. The endangered
Fiji iguan (see iguanas) belongs to a lizard family that is
otherwise only found in America and Madagascar. A further 20
reptile species occur on land. In the coastal waters there
are delta crocodiles and sea snakes, as well as a rich
coral reef fauna.