A report prepared by the Invasive Partnership for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, Palau July 2014 as requested by the Micronesian Chief Executives in Resolution 19-01
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Situated between Fiji to the west and Samoa to the northeast, the Kingdom of Tonga (referred
to as Tonga) is comprised of 171 scattered islands of which less than 50 are inhabited. The islands are
mainly composed of limestone formed from uplifted coral. Current critical environmental concerns have
arisen due to deforestation; damage to coral reefs and the introduction and spread of invasive alien
species. Anthropogenic pressure has resulted in extensive modification of all ecosystems on the
Global biodiversity loss is disproportionately rapid on islands, where invasive species are a major driver of extinctions. To inform conservation planning aimed at preventing extinctions, we identify the distribution and biogeographic patterns of highly threatened terrestrial vertebrates (classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and invasive vertebrates on ~465,000 islands worldwide by conducting a comprehensive literature review and interviews with more than 500 experts.
The Key Biodiversity Areas and Important Bird Areas (KBA's
& IBA's) approach is a simple, effective means of
implementing the protected areas elements of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). KBAs and IBAs are places of
international importance for the conservation of biological diversity through protected areas and other governance mechanisms.
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Invasive alien mammals are the major driver of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation on islands. Over the past three decades, invasive mammal eradication from islands has become one of society's most powerful tools for preventing extinction of insular endemics and restoring insular ecosystems. As practitioners tackle larger islands for restoration, three factors will heavily influence success and outcomes: the degree of local support, the ability to mitigate for non-target impacts, and the ability to eradicate non-native species more cost-effectively.
Short website news article about rat eradication on Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean and how bird populations increase without rat predation increasing nutrients from bird guano into the coral reefs; cites letter article in Springer Nature - Seabirds enhance coral reef productivity and functioning inthe absence of invasive rats, Nichaolas A.J. Graham, Shaun K. Wilson, Peter Carr, Andrew S. Hoey, Simon Jennings, M. Aaron MacNeil https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0202-3
The isolated, small, low-lying resource-poor atolls of Tuvalu are clearly on the frontline against climate change, the escalating impacts natural disasters and declining food, health and energy security.
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The world is facing a biodiversity crisis. Nowhere is that more apparent than on oceanic islands where invasive species are a major threat for island biodiversity. Rats are one of the most detrimental of these and have been the target of numerous eradication programmes; a well-established conservation tool for island systems.
Earths most highly threatened terrestrial insular vertebrates (111 of 1,184 species). Of these, 107 islands were in 34 countries and territories and could have eradication projects initiated by 2020. Concentrating efforts to eradicate invasive mammals on these 107 islands would benefit 151 populations of 80 highly threatened vertebrates and make a major contribution towards achieving global conservation targets adopted by the worlds nations.
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Following the incursion of rats (Rattus rattus) on Taukihepa (Big South Cape Island; 93.9 km²) off southern New Zealand in 1963, and the subsequent extirpation of several endemic species, the New Zealand Wildlife Service realised that, contrary to general belief at the time, introduced predators do not reach a natural balance with native species and that a safe breeding habitat for an increasing number of at risk species was urgently needed.
Rat eradication is a highly effective tool for conserving biodiversity, but one that requires considerable planning eff ort, a high level of precision during implementation and carries no guarantee of success. Overall, rates of success are generally high but lower for tropical islands where most biodiversity is at risk. We completed a qualitative comparative review on four successful and four unsuccessful tropical rat eradication projects to better understand the factors influencing the success of tropical rat eradications and shed light on how the risk of future failures can be minimised.
Since 1987, I have assisted the Cook Islands Conservation/Environment Service and, more recently, the Takitumu Conservation Area Project and the Avifauna Conservation Programme of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to plan and implement a recovery programme for the kakerori, a critically endangered forest bird endemic to Rarotonga. In 1989, the kakerori was one of the 10 rarest birds in the world, and classified as 'critically endangered' (Collar et al. 1994) with a population of just 29 birds. I calculated
On 6 January 2004. cyclone Heta devastated much of the South Pacific island nation of Niue. Extensive damage was done to forest, particularly of the north- western sector, with many trees up-rooted and others stripped of branches and foliage. This report details our findings from a survey of Niue's birds and rodents during 3-19 September 2004 and compares these with results from a similar survey in September 1994.
The study of dispersal processes of small mammals, and especially of rodents, has a wide range of applications and until recent years there were few publications discussing the
colonisation of 'oceanic' islands by small mammals (cf. Crowell, 1986; Diamond, 1987; Hanski, 1986;Heany, 1986; Lomolino, 1986).
The Tokelau Islands consist of three atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo) approximately 500 km north of Western Samoa. Their numerous islets are formed mainly of coral sand and rubble with no standing freshwater. Sixty-one plant species have been recorded, 13 of these being introduced and 10 being adventives. There are three vegetation zones, the beach, the beach-crest, and the interior coconut/fern zone with the physiognomy of a humid tropical forest. Marine invertebrates have not been studied.
In June/July 2002 an eradication programme to remove Pacific rats from Maninita Island in the Vava'u group of the Kingdom of Tonga was initiated. The techniques used were similar to those
used in successful rat eradications in New Zealand, in that Pestoff 20R pellets and a network of bait stations were used.
Conditions on the island were not what was expected, the forest having been adversely affected by cyclone Waka and subsequent defoliation by caterpillars, resulting in an open forest canopy. Rats were found to be present on the island in high numbers and were breeding.
In June/July 2002 the eradication of Pacific rats from Maninita Island in the Vava'u group of the Kingdom of Tonga was attempted using Brodifacoum pellets in bait stations. In December 2002, Maninita was revisited and rat trapping carried out to determine if rats were present. While no rats were caught and none were seen, further monitoring in June 2003 is recommended before the island is declared "rat free '.
For one of the species potentially at some risk of poisoning under the proposed rat eradication regime, the Friendly Ground Dove, Nuutele and Nuulua hold populations that are nationally significant. The complete loss of these populations would threaten the survival of the taxon in Samoa. Some authors consider the Samoan doves to be a separate race (Gallicolumba s. stairi) from those in Fiji and Tonga (Watling, 2001). Outside Samoa, the race is only found on the small island of Ofu,
The islands of Nu'utele and Nu'ulua have been identified as highly significant sites for conservation in Samoa. They hold large populations of species currently found nowhere else in the country' including threatened land-birds, seabirds and nesting
turtles. They also are the only offshore islands large enough and far enough offshore to be considered as refuges for several of the nation's species threatened on the larger islands by introduced mammalian pests. Such refuges have assumed greater