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Biodiversity of the Pacific Islands - Essay Example

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The aim of the essay “Biodiversity of the Pacific Islands” is to evaluate extinction as a natural feature of the evolution of life on earth. However, recent human-induced extinction is more than 100 times faster than natural extinction rates…
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Biodiversity of the Pacific Islands
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Download file to see previous pages The wildlife trade is one factor in this decline, particularly an improvement in transport facilities has made it possible to ship animals and plants and products derived from them anywhere in the world. Wildlife trade is a highly profitable business and involves a wide variety of species with millions of animals and plants traded each year to supply the demand for pets, ornamental plants, furs, skins, leather and timber, and articles manufactured from these materials. Incredibly, the wildlife trade is second, in monetary terms, only to the drug trade, and perhaps the arms trade. The annual average trade in wildlife products is estimated at around five billion US dollars.
 The Impact of Deforestation
 The effects of deforestation are quite evident all across the Pacific islands and indeed across all world cultures. However, perhaps the area which is most devastated is the island of Papua New Guinea. Current estimates of forest destruction are hard to come by but in the late 1980's the forest was being lost at a rate of 21,000 - 22,000 ha per year (Hurst, 1990; Mullins, 1994). Forest product production has increased from 300,000 cubic meters in 1969 to over 1.7 million cubic meters in 1989. Most of these exports are in the form of logs, so Papua New Guinea misses out on any "value added" component that would result if timber were milled locally. Foreign investors, mainly Japanese, Malaysian, Korean, and Chinese, dominate the timber industry. In the late 1980's local timber companies only had rights to one-fifth of the available logging concessions (Barry, 2000).
 The Pacific forests are rich in wildlife. Placental mammals, marsupials, birds, and reptiles abound. Doubtless, there are a lot of species that have not yet come to scientific attention. There are 650 species of birds, 500 of which are confined to the forests (Hurst, 1990). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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