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|Detention island or tropical paradise?|
KALGOORLIE, Australia, 17 February 2019 (ABC) - As a remote tropical outpost teeming with unique wildlife, Christmas Island shouldn't have any trouble attracting visitors. Yet after more than a decade of hosting a detention centre that became the flashpoint for a divisive immigration policy, the island has an image problem.
|How did the Pink Pigeon bounce back from just nine birds?|
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 15 February 2019 (BirdLife) - Last year, one of Mauritius’ best-loved birds hit a milestone that delighted the conservation world. In the 2018 Red List update, the Pink Pigeon was downlisted from Endangered to Vulnerable, building upon the success of 2000, when it was downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered.
|Indonesian firms owe $1.3 bn in forest damage fines|
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 15 February 2019 (AFP) - Indonesian firms owe at least $1.3 billion in unpaid fines for environmental damage caused by widespread forest clearing and deadly fires linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths, a Greenpeace study said Friday.
|Fijians fume at India land swap|
LONDON, UK, 15 February 2019 (BBC) - Residents of Fiji's capital Suva are questioning the government's decision to allow a new Indian High Commission to be built at the city's much-loved botanical gardens.
|Tasmania fires may wipe out ancient species|
HOBART, Australia, 15 February 2019 (AFP) - Tasmania's ancient rainforest and alpine flora species face an uncertain future, scientists have warned, after out-of-control bushfires consumed vast tracts of wild bushland.
|Turning desalination waste into a useful resource|
BOSTON, US, 14 February 2019 (SPX) - The rapidly growing desalination industry produces water for drinking but it leaves behind as a waste product a lot of highly concentrated brine. MIT researchers have now shown that through a fairly simple process the waste material can be converted into useful chemicals - including ones that can make the desalination process itself more efficient.
|Little Bay Islands votes unanimously to resettle|
ST. JOHN'S, Canada, 14 February 2019 (CBC) - The residents of Little Bay Islands have voted unanimously to resettle, coming together in a unified voice after years of previous failed attempts and deep fractures in the formerly close-knit community.
|Beijing intensifies lobbying of Pacific nations |
SUVA, Fiji, 14 February 2019 (ABC) - Beijing has intensified its campaign to isolate Taiwan in the Pacific, pressing for the region's peak diplomatic body to formally embrace a One China policy.
|Rapa Nui faces threats from climate change|
HANGA ROA, Chile, 14 February 2019 (IPS) - Social activists and local authorities in Rapa Nui or Easter Island are calling for urgent action to address rising sea temperatures, declining rainfall, and rising tides that threaten their fishing resources and their Moais, the mysterious volcanic stone monoliths.
|Senate calls for Great Barrier Reef Foundation to return money|
LONDON, UK, 14 February 2019 (Guardian) - A committee examining the government’s decision to award $443.3m to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has recommended unspent funds from the controversial grant be returned to the commonwealth and reserved for future reef projects.
|On a remote island, a lost part of the world is found|
NEW YORK, US, 13 February 2019 (Phys.org) - On a remote tropical island in the Indian Ocean lies a geologic enigma. Some 4 million years ago, volcanic eruptions on the seabed piled lava upward almost two miles, until it broke above the waves. Then it kept piling up, to form what is now the craggy, densely vegetated island of Anjouan.
|Wave device could deliver clean energy to thousands of homes|
EDINBURGH, UK, 13 February 2019 (SPX) - A wave energy technology is being developed that could help generate low-cost electricity for thousands of houses. The device costs less than conventional designs, has fewer moving parts, and is made of durable materials.
|First successful invasive species removal in Marquesas|
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 13 February 2019 (BirdLife) - Conservationists leaped from boats onto sheer rock faces and braved “10,000 dive-bombing Sooty Terns” to achieve the first successful eradication of invasive rodents on Teuaua Island, French Polynesia.
|If sea levels rise what happens to Pacific maritime boundaries?|
CANBERRA, Australia, 12 February 2019 (ABC) - Scientists have long predicted climate change could pose an existential threat to the tiny island nations which dot the Pacific. But it's not just the region's natural geography in peril - its political geography could be endangered as well.
|Greek island paradise in jeopardy from new oil drilling|
ATHENS, Greece, 12 February 2019 (WWF) - A paradise of majestic marine life, iconic habitats and top tourist destinations of unique natural beauty such as Crete, Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Corfu is in danger. A 60.000 km2 marine area, equal to twice the size of Belgium, has been conceded to multinational oil companies for oil and gas exploration and drilling.
|'We seized our island back from the navy'|
LONDON, UK, 11 February 2019 (BBC) - Last year, a flotilla of 40 fishing boats set sail from northern Sri Lanka with a mission to seize back their island from navy occupation.
|Climate change eats away at Torres Strait islands|
CAIRNS, Australia, 9 February 2019 (ABC) - Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, unpredictable winds and destructive king tides are increasing problems in the Torres Strait, with roads, buildings and even cemeteries being washed away in recent years.
|South Georgia extends MPA legislation to its entire Maritime Zone|
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 8 February 2019 (MercoPress) - The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands has announced a range of additional measures for its Marine Protected Area (MPA) which will greatly enhance the protection and conservation of the Territory’s rich marine biodiversity.
|Tasmania's lakes among most contaminated in the world|
LONDON, UK, 8 February 2019 (Guardian) - Metal contamination levels in some of Tasmania’s lakes are among the highest in the world, a new study has found, while those within the state’s Wilderness World Heritage Area have also been badly polluted by mining.
|Future proofing forests to protect orangutans|
LONDON, UK, 7 February 2019 (BBC) - A study has identified key tree species that are resilient to climate change and support critically endangered apes in Indonesia's Kutai National Park located on the east coast of Borneo.
|Tourism resort threatens Palau shorebird haven|
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 7 February 2019 (BirdLife) - Nestled inside the tropical island nation of Palau is Peleliu Lkes, an intertidal zone made up of pristine sand flats and islets that have lain unspoiled for hundreds of years.
|Get ready to show your Lotonuu in American Samoa|
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, 6 February 2019 (SPREP) - Lotonuu, a campaign now in the early planning stages, aims to inspire stewardship for a harmonious relationship of give and take between the land, the ocean, and its people in American Samoa for a sustainable way of life. Lotonuu means to love, respect, and have pride in your land and ocean.
|Massive resort desecrates Fiji island jewel|
SUVA, Fiji, 6 February 2019 (PINA) - Environmentalists and local villagers on a Fijian resort island are aghast at a monumental Chinese hotel development which has ripped out part of a reef, dumped waste, blocked other landowners and disturbed traditional fisheries - before gaining legal approvals.
|Netherlands puzzles over death of estimated 20,000 guillemots|
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 6 February 2019 (Guardian) - Scientists are scrambling to understand the sudden death of an estimated 20,000 guillemots off the Dutch coast. The bodies of the birds, which spend most of their lives at sea where they dive for their food, started emerging over the past month, from the Wadden Islands in the north to Zeeland in the south.
|The tiny islands spearheading the fight against climate change|
LONDON, UK, 5 February 2019 (The New Arab) - The Comoros occupies a unique position within the Arab League. In contrast to all the regional organisation's other member states, the African island country enjoys a tropical climate and sits in the Southern Hemisphere.
|Seychelles ranked first in Africa for ocean health|
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 5 February 2019 (SNA) - The Ocean Health Index assessment, conducted by the US-based National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and global non-profit Conservation International, has ranked Seychelles first in Africa after the latest global assessment of ocean health.
|Bougainville mining plan meets with outrage|
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 5 February 2019 (RNZ) - Landowners near the Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea's Bougainville region have voiced outrage at the local government's new mining plan.
|CARICOM struggle to be heard in climate change discussions|
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, 5 February 2019 (IPS) - In recent years Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have experienced escalated climate change impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather-related events thanks to global warming of 1.0 ° Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels.
|China's ocean exploration a pretext for naval power building|
TAMUNING, Guam, 4 February 2019 (PIT) - Last month officials of the Federated States of Micronesia along with Chinese diplomats and scientists gathered aboard China’s research vessel KeXue, marking the first in a series of events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
|Bonaire set to increase its use of renewable energy|
KRALENDIJK, Bonaire, 4 February 2019 (Caribbean News Now) - The technology company Wärtsilä has been awarded an integrated 6 MW energy storage project contract for Bonaire that will enable the island to increase its use of renewable energy such as wind and solar.
|Norway's Arctic islands at risk of devastating warming|
OSLO, Norway, 4 February 2019 (Reuters) - Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause "devastating" changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said today.
|Tasmania is burning|
LONDON, UK, 4 February 2019 (Guardian) - As I write this, fire is 500 metres from the largest King Billy pine forest in the world on Mt Bobs, an ancient forest that dates back to the last Ice Age and has trees over 1,000 years old.
|Seabirds on Ascension decline by 80%|
LONDON, UK, 4 February 2019 (Independent) - A population crash in a massive seabird colony on Ascension Island has been attributed to a poor diet after their normal food sources dried up.
|Norfolk Island grapples with Australian rule|
DUBBO, Australia, 3 February 2019 (ABC) - A peaceful paradise known for its iconic pine trees and spectacular coastline, Norfolk Island is riddled with political tension and simmering social unrest.
|Haiti's first private nature reserve|
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 1 February 2019 (Mongabay) - On an isolated mountain in southwestern Haiti, researchers and conservation groups have purchased land and carved out the island nation’s first ever private nature reserve.
|NASA scientists visit a rare new island|
NEW YORK, US, 1 February 2019 (Space.com) - Near the end of December 2014, NASA scientists realized satellites were spotting a volcanic plume from territory within the nation of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean.
|Drone's mapping of Canna and Sanday 'a world first'|
LONDON, UK, 1 February 2019 (BBC) - The National Trust for Scotland said Canna and Sanday in the Small Isles had been the subject of the most detailed mapping exercise ever undertaken of any islands in the world.
|Samoa joins the fight against plastic pollution|
APIA, Samoa, 31 January 2019 (SPREP) - Samoa has become the latest Pacific island country to enforce a ban on single-use plastics in a bid to address the growing issue of plastic pollution.
|Borneo study of land-cover change|
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 30 January 2019 (Mongabay) - A nearly two-decade study of land-cover change in Borneo has identified a positive correlation between the loss of forests and the expansion of plantations, primarily for oil palms.
|Environmental degradation exacerbates Indonesia flooding, landslides|
MAKASSAR, Indonesia, 30 January 2019 (Mongabay) - Days of torrential rain in an eastern Indonesian province last week unleashed flash floods and landslides that killed dozens of people. In the wake of the emergency, local authorities and environmental activists identified land degradation as a result of farming and mining as a key factor intensifying the impact of the disaster.
|China builds rescue centre on artificial Spratly island|
HONG KONG, 30 January 2019 (SCMP) - China has added a maritime rescue centre to its facilities on an artificial island in the South China Sea, pressing on with plans to turn the outpost into the biggest logistics hub in the disputed waters.
|Will Lakshadweep islands survive climate change?|
NEW DELHI, India, 30 January 2019 (ICD) - An island sank under the sea. Nobody noticed. Even today, maps of the Survey of India – the government agency tasked with mapping the country’s territory – show Parali I as a small island in the Bangaram atoll in Lakshadweep archipelago in the Arabian Sea, some 400 km off the west coast of mainland India.
|Venezuelan pirates - the new scourge of the Caribbean|
LONDON, UK, 28 January 2019 (BBC) - As Venezuela's economy collapses, a tide of lawlessness is spreading to the nearby island of Trinidad. Its fishermen now live in fear of being robbed or kidnapped by Venezuelan pirates who are also big smugglers, bringing cocaine and guns into Trinidad which fuel the island's own vicious and increasingly deadly gang wars.
|Dominica to provide nearly entire population with geothermal energy|
ROSEAU, Dominica, 27 January 2019 (Caribbean News Now) - Dominica plans to build a geothermal plant in the third quarter of 2019 on the outskirts of the capital city of Roseau. It hopes to power 23,000 homes with clean geothermal energy, which represents approximately 90% of the entire population.
|Is Orkney the best place to live in the UK?|
LONDON, UK, 26 January 2019 (BBC) - Orkney has taken the top spot in an annual survey ranking the best place to live in the UK - but is it really? The archipelago which lies 10 miles (16km) off Scotland's north coast, is famed for its spectacular landscapes and archaeological treasures but it is home to just 22,000 people, spread over 20 inhabitable islands.
|Southern Philippines backs Muslim self-rule in landslide victory|
MANILA, Philippines, 25 January 2019 (Guardian) - People in the Muslim-majority southern Philippines have voted by a landslide to create a new autonomous region covering five provinces and three cities, a result the government hopes will bring peace to a war-torn part of the country and address issues that lure recruits to Isis-inspired groups.
|Seychelles develop long-term waste master plan|
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 25 January 2019 (SNA) - European and Japanese experts will be assisting the Seychelles environment ministry in two studies, one on the existing coastal waste management infrastructure and the other on developing a waste master plan in Seychelles.
|Indonesia still off pace for reforestation|
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 25 January 2019 (Mongabay) - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono began his first term as president of Indonesia in 2004 with a pledge to plant a million trees a year, in an effort to make up for the massive deforestation the country had experienced over decades.
|Cooking beetles: An island in Assam is eating its farm pest|
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 25 January 2019 (Mongabay) - Beetle fry, anyone? A ‘Pest-aurant’ in the remote and rapidly-shrinking Majuli, world’s largest river island in northeast India, has cooked up a unique method to prevent pests from attacking crops in the region – eating them before they devour the crops.
|Drones released on Galapagos Islands to wipe out invasive rats|
LONDON, UK, 25 January 2019 (Independent) - Drones are being used by the Island Conservation NGO to drop poison from the sky in order to wipe out rats on the Galapagos Islands that are feasting on the eggs and seeds of the island’s seabirds and plants.
|Big rise in atmospheric CO2 expected in 2019|
LONDON, UK, 25 January 2019 (BBC) - Every year, the Earth's natural carbon sinks such as forests soak up large amounts of CO2 produced by human activities. But in years when the tropical Pacific region is warmer like this year, trees and plants grow less and absorb smaller amounts of the gas. As a result, scientists say 2019 will see a much bigger CO2 rise than 2018.
|Scientists to explore Indian Ocean depths|
BREMERHAVEN, Germany, 24 January 2019 (AP) - Scientists prepared Thursday to embark on an unprecedented, years-long mission to explore the Indian Ocean and document changes taking place beneath the waves that could affect billions of people in the surrounding region over the coming decades.
|Iron ore mining on Koolan Island brings unexpected hazards|
KUNUNURRA, Australia, 24 January 2019 (ABC) - One of Australia's oldest iron ore mines has a few quirks; it is based on an island off the remote West Australian coast, it has spent the last four years under water, and its flooded mine pit is home to sharks, crocodiles and stingrays.
|Cruise ships on Kangaroo Island Q&A|
KINGSCOTE, Australia, 24 January 2019 (The Islander) - Kangaroo Island has seen a significant growth in cruise ship visitation over the last decade from annual single digit numbers to 19 in 17/18 season and 28 during this 18/19 current season.
|Military buildup in Arctic as melting ice reopens northern borders|
LONDON, UK, 24 January 2019 (Guardian) - The climate crisis is intensifying a new military buildup in the Arctic, diplomats and analysts said this week, as regional powers attempt to secure northern borders that were until recently reinforced by a continental-sized division of ice.
|Skye volcanic eruption 'changed climate'|
LONDON, UK, 24 January 2019 (BBC) - A catastrophic volcanic eruption on the Isle of Skye that happened about 56 million years ago is likely to have caused major changes in the world's climate.
|India navy set to open third base in strategic islands|
NEW DELHI, India, 23 January 2019 (Reuters) - India's navy will open a third air base in the far-off Andaman and Nicobar islands on Thursday to beef up surveillance of Chinese ships and submarines entering the Indian Ocean through the nearby Malacca Straits.
|'When to Ambae?' Volcano-hit islanders long for home|
LONDON, UK, 22 January 2019 (Guardian) - The violent Manaro Voui volcano forced the people of Vanuatu’s Ambae island to flee their home numerous times over the last year. After living in makeshift camps on surrounding islands, the displaced residents are now anxious to return to their ash-covered homes, even if the danger has not yet passed.
|Bali set to tax tourists|
LONDON, UK, 22 January 2019 (Independent) - Bali is set to introduce a $10 (£7.76) levy on foreigners, which will go towards preserving the island's environment and culture.
|Biometrics opens up banking via fingerprint in PNG|
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 22 January 2019 (RNZ) - People in Papua New Guinea can now make bank transactions using their fingerprints following the development of a biometrics system that aims to make financial services more accessible for rural communities, especially women.
|Japan to recommend islands for UNESCO listing again|
TOKYO, Japan, 22 January 2019 (JT) - The 43,000-hectare area covers Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, as well as the northern part of the main Okinawa island and Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture. The area boasts extensive subtropical forests that are home to rare species such as the Amami rabbit, Okinawa rail and Iriomote cat.
|Call for Cook Islands to diversify its economy|
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 21 January 2019 (RNZ) - The flourishing Cook Islands tourism industry is a potential Achilles heel for the country's economy if diversification away from the biggest revenue generator for the Pacific nation doesn't happen, according to the outgoing New Zealand High Commissioner.
|Mangrove patches deserve greater recognition no matter the size|
LONDON, UK, 21 January 2019 (SPX) - Large swathes of mangroves in Southeast Asia, such as in the Philippines, have been cleared to make way for aquaculture, mainly shrimp and fish ponds. Elsewhere, in the Maldives, mangroves are being cleared to make way for a controversial new airport to be built.
|Bay of Islands dig uncovers more evidence of NZ's origins|
WHANGAREI, New Zealand, 21 January 2019 (NZ Herald) - An archaeological dig at Mangahawea Bay, on Moturua Island, has uncovered further evidence of what is thought to be one of the earliest sites of human habitation in New Zealand.
|Japan may accept Russia peace pact if it hands over disputed islands|
TOKYO, Japan, 21 January 2019 (JT) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is en route to Moscow for summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is leaning toward accepting a postwar peace treaty with Russia if Moscow hands over two of the four islands contested by the two countries.
|How Orkney leads the way for sustainable energy|
LONDON, UK, 20 January 2019 (Guardian) - It seems the stuff of fantasy. Giant ships sail the seas burning fuel that has been extracted from water using energy provided by the winds, waves and tides.