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.
In May 2001, the French ruling party, the RPR's sister
party, won the Tahoeraa Huiraatira election as it gained 28
seats in parliament against 13 to Tavini Huiraatira. Gaston
Flosse was elected prime minister by 29 votes, while Tavini
Huiraatira's Oscar Temaru got 13.
At the beginning of 2002, statistics showed that tourism
flow to the islands had dropped by 9.7% following the
terrorist attack on New York in September 2001. French
Polynesia is the second most important tourist destination
in the region after Fiji.
In July 2003, French President Jacques Chirac visited
French Polynesia for the first time. While Flosse awaited
the French president, the leader of the independence
movement, Oscar Temaru organized a demonstration to remind
Chirac that he "has a duty to bring French Polynesia to
independence and full sovereignty". Temaru boycotted the
official reception at the same time.
Chirac assured the Polynesians that according to. studies
by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, that
the population will not be affected in the short or long
term by the nuclear tests that France has conducted in the
area over the years. Still, the president declared that for
security reasons, France will continue to monitor
radioactivity and geological activity in the atolls.
In October 2004, Temaru lost a vote of confidence in
parliament and was replaced by Flosse at the Prime
Minister's post. Temaru called for a general strike in
protest at his removal and accused Paris of operating
politically against his person. However, it was rejected by
France. The removal of the Prime Minister triggered
widespread demonstrations in the streets of Papeete.
In February 2005, the incumbent government again lost a
vote of confidence and was replaced by Independent Leader
Oscar Temaru. Two decades of Flosse government was thus
brought to an end.
In July 2005, Paris appointed Anne Boquet as new High
Commissioner to replace Michel Mathieu, who took over a
similar post in Kanaky. The post was, until Boquet's
arrival, filled in by Jacques Michaut.
The local parliament refused to meet and follow the
French government's representative in nuclear safety, Marcel
Jurien de la Graviere, when he visited the French nuclear
test area on the Muroroa Atoll in May 2006. In December,
President Temaru was replaced with Gaston Tong Sang.
A Danish artist was arrested by French police as he tried
to paint the top of Mont Blanc red in protest against the
French nuclear test blasts in French Polynesia. The mountain
is on the border between Frankring and Italy.
In December 2006, Gaston Tong Sang was elected President
of Parliament by 31 votes to 26. He represented the
conservative pro-autonomy party Tahoera'a Huiraatira.
Already in July 2007, Sang was harshly criticized by Gaston
Flosse, the founder of the party Sang himself represented.
Flosse criticized Song for being too lenient towards other
parties. Others pointed out that Flosse himself wanted to
take over the presidential post, and it was revealed that
Flosse had held meetings with the opposition on just that.
In August, Parliament conducted a distrust vote for the
president. Tahoera'a Huiraatira had in vain urged Sang to
resign, but he was overthrown during the vote. Members of
his own party also voted against him. In September, Oscar
Temaru from the UPLD independence party took over the
presidential post. Temaru dropped by a distrust vote in
April 2008, which brought Sang back on the record. He fell
again in February 2009, only to return again in November.
In May 2013, Gaston Flosse was elected President. He had
for more than 20 years chaired the Conservative Party,
Tahoeraha Huiraatira, who advocated for autonomy but opposed
independence. In 2006, he had been sentenced to 3 months
suspended prison for corruption. He had abused his political
connections in connection with a hotel purchase. The post
was taken over by Édouard Fritch in September 2014.