Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystem in Nukapu Island

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GE201 Assignment 1

Raywin Taroaniara
S11080934
22/03/2013

Nukapu Island, Solomon Islands: A case study of the Islet Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystem.

This essay is on the case study of the Terrestrial and the Marine Ecosystem of Nukapu Island. The island is one of the fourteen Islands in Temotu Province the easternmost part of the Solomon Islands, approximately about 1mile in length with a narrow width along with a huge extensive coral reef (fig. 1)and is located at the latitude 10o08’18’’S and longitude 165o05’03”E [ (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) ]. This island is at the distance of 20km away from Santa Cruz the main bigger Island in Temotu Province and located alongside the other atoll islands (Nupani, Matema, Pileni, Makalumu, Nifiloli) [ (Seach, 1989) ]. There were about 110 people living on the island, most of them are old people and younger children. Most of the people have moved to settled in some other parts of Santa Cruz in order to get better education, medical attention and get along with the modern life since they can not make proper connection with the other bigger island because of its isolation. The island got its name only when the first bishop of Melanesian, Bishop John Coleridge Patteson was murdered by an islander in 1871 [ (Seach, 1989) ]. The islanders earned income by selling their sea resources and depend mostly on the sea and land recourses for their survival; the soil there was good enough to produce root crops through out the whole year despite the rainy seasons and frequent disasters. This essay will focus on the terrestrial ecosystem and then will move on to look on the marine ecosystem. Since these is an atoll island there is no fresh water ecosystem and most of the fresh water that the people on the island is from the rain, by making a catchment form roof tops and to the tanks supplied by the community service (rotary, world vision). Figure 1: Nukapu Atoll NASA image Firstly, the terrestrial ecosystems that are found on the island are: the coastal strand vegetation is a part of the natural territorial ecosystem found on the island. This rocky vegetation occurs a few meters above the sea level mostly at the back of the island that is not occupy by islanders but can be used for picnics and resting place after a hard day work in the garden [ (Ivens, 2006) ]. The padanus plants and coconut tress (Table 1) are the dominant plant that is found in this ecosystem, these abundant species are very useful in the island for its leaves that are woven into mats, baskets and hats and the kernel from the fruit is eaten or crushed for its juice [ (Whistler, 1992) ]. Most of the younger coconut trees are found here and as moving inward the taller they become and into the entire center coconut tress are scattered through out because there is no proper plantation (Fig. 2) In the built in ecosystem in which the main village where people live, there were no permanent house except for the church that is ground built. Most of the houses were ground built because the island is vulnerable to extreme natural conditions like cyclone and sea level rise and the people are continuously moving inward. Figure 2: coconut trees * For the cultural terrestrial ecosystem, the mature fallow forest in which mostly exotic plants are introduced for their importance. Bamboos for an instance are introduced to the island by those who have been to bigger islands like Santa Cruz because of its use as a building material for house. The...
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