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THROUGH A MIST ON THE OCEAN: HUMAN UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAND ENVIRONMENTS

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ABSTRACT

Although generally distinct from continental environments, and therefore of interest in their own right, island environments have been generally misunderstood, misinterpreted, and mismanaged. The main reason is that they have been interpreted for management purposes largely by continent-trained observers. An example of views towards island size is given. It is argued that the pejorative label ‘small’ should no longer be used to characterise islands. The ways in which island environments have been impacted by humans and their commensals is given. Questions of the sustainable development of island environments are also considered, including for whom these should be sustainable, how extraneous threats like sea-level rise are best incorporated into such plans, and what threats are posed to the rest of the world by mega-tsunami from certain island environments. Island environments are best managed by persons who understand their distinct character and who are committed to their future.
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Keywords: Island; change; environment; management; ocean; sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 July 2004

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