Introduction to the Region Oceania (The Pacific World) Region covers one-third of the earth’s surface Dominated by the world’s largest ocean, the Pacific Subregions Australia New Zealand Islands of the Mid-Pacific Antarctica is also covered in this chapter No permanent human inhabitants Site of important scientific research
8.1.1 Major Divisions of the Region Pacific Island Regions Melanesia “Black Islands” Micronesia “Tiny Islands” Polynesia “Many Islands” Typical Traits for a Pacific Island Country Population of 100,000 to 150,000 Area of 250 to 1,000 square miles Made up of a number of islands Poor economically Ex-colony of Britain, New Zealand, or Australia Heavily dependent on foreign economic aid
Comparison of AreaOceania vs. Conterminous U.S.
8.1.2 The People and Where They Live Regional population is 37 million Australia has 23 million people Papua New Guinea has 7 million people Nauru only has 9,300 people Population Growth Rates Vary Widely Australia (0.7%) and New Zealand (0.8%) 2.6% in Papua New Guinea Oceania is 76% rural, excluding Australia and N.Z. People Overpopulation in Polynesia Significant Emigration Postindustrial Fear in Australia / New Zealand Might not have enough people to support the countries’ economies and aging populations
8.2.1 Climates and Biomes Most of the region is tropical Cool mid-latitude westerly winds bring New Zealand and coastal southern Australia a marine west coast climate Coastal southern Australia has some Mediterranean Coastal northern Australia has tropical savanna Interior of Australia has desert climate and vegetation
8.2.2 Island Types Continental Islands Continents or were attached to continents before sea level changes and tectonic activities isolated them Examples: Australia, New Guinea, New Britain, New Zealand High Islands Often the result of volcanic eruptions Examples: Hawaii, Samoa, Society Islands Low Islands Made of coral Most take the shape of an irregular ring surrounding a lagoon (called an atoll) Lack resources to support dense populations Examples: Kiribati, Caroline and Marshall Islands
Geologic Hot Spot: Hawaii Some of the volcanic high islands of the Pacific comprise island chains. These are formed when the oceanic crust slides over a stationary geologic hot spot in the earth’smantle where molten magma is relatively close to the crust. As the crust slides over the geologic hot spot, magma rises through the crust to form new volcanic islands.
8.2.3 Vulnerability of Oceania’s Ecosystems Factors Threatening Endemic Species Human-Induced Extinctions Habitat Destruction Deliberate Hunting Introduction of Exotic Species Volcanic Eruptions Typhoons (Hurricanes) Rises in Sea Level Hawaii as “Extinction Capital of the World” Commercial logging on island of New Guinea Home of 22,000 plant species, of which 90% are endemic
8.3 Cultural and Historical Geographies Australia & New Zealand Mainly European in culture and ethnicity Fiji, New Caledonia & Guam Half Indigenous & Half Foreign Rest of Oceania’s Population 80% Indigenous 80% of these are Melanesian 14% of these are Polynesian 6% of these are Micronesian 13% Asian 7% European
8.3.1 The Indigenous Peoples of Oceania Settlement began in Pacific region 50,000 years ago Settlers came across land bridge that linked New Guinea and Australia (Torres Strait Islanders) Ancestors of today’s Aborigines Languages Linguistic Legacy Aboriginal, Austronesian, and Papuan Linguistic Complexity Papua New Guinea is home to 860 languages Vanuatu has 105 identified languages Lingua Franca English and French reflect colonial past Pidgin is official language of Papua New Guinea
8.3.2 Europeans in Oceania First Europeans in region were voyagers European legacy Established trade Introduced Christianity Created new settlement patterns Disrupted old political systems Rearranged demographic and natural landscapes Introduction of exotic crops
8.4 Economic Geography Aside from Australia and New Zealand, the region is characterized by a lack of industrial development Poverty typical of LDCs prevails in the region Tyrannies of size and distance Most countries must import more than they can export
8.4.1 Making a Living in Oceania 7 Major Economic Enterprises Exports of Plantation Crops Exports of Fish Exports of Minerals Services for Western Military Interests Information Technology Textile Production Tourism
Nauru The 10 square miles of land that is Nauru have beendevastated by phosphate mining that once made Nauruans among the wealthiest people per capita on earth.
8.5 Geopolitical Issues Oceania was once entirely colonial The U.S., Britain, Australia, and New Zealand have abandoned most of their colonies Only France has held on to all of its colonies
8.5.1 Interest of Foreign Powers in the Pacific Importance of islands to governing powers Military Advantages Economic Advantages French Polynesia used for French atomic testing Guam and American Samoa useful for U.S. military purposes Guam as a power projection hub, as it is five days’ sailing time closer to Asia than Hawaii is Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement
8.5.2 Oceania’s Environmental Future Rise in sea level due to global warming Sea levels have risen in recent years at a rate of 0.1” / yr Unprecedented tidal surges Kiribati, Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu could be completely submerged, while other island nations would lose territory Alliance of Small Island States Politicked unsuccessfully at 1997 Kyoto Conference for lowering of global greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below their 1990 levels by 2005 Took legal recourse against U.S. and Australia for failing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol
8.6.1 Australia and New Zealand Similar in population, cultural heritage, political problems and orientation, type of economy, and location Products of British colonization and reflect British heritage Prosperous countries Relatively few people among whom to spread wealth Both owe their prosperity to wholesale transplantation of business culture and technology from the UK Despite their independence, remain loyal to Britain (Australia in 1901 and New Zealand in 1907) Belong to the British Commonwealth of Nations Political Orientation Since WWII, these two countries have sought closer relations with the U.S., and British influence has waned Seeking stronger roles in the Pacific Basin’s economy Debate over whether Australians should convert the country into a republic, ending formal ties with Britain
8.6.2 Australia’s Aborigines Aborigines (Australia’s indigenous inhabitants) Believed their ancestors ‘sang’ the world into existence Population An estimated 300,000 to 1 million Aborigines inhabited Australia when Europeans arrived in the 17th century Colonizing whites slaughtered many and drove the rest into marginal areas of the continent Today, there are an estimated 510,000 Aborigines, living mainly in the tropical north of the country Aborigines suffer from: High infant mortality rate High unemployment Low life expectancy Contention between Aborigines & white majority over land rights Aborigines increasingly enlisting aid of geographers and other social scientists to document, measure & analyze traditional land claims
8.6.3 Exotic Species on the Island Continent Exotic species are nonnative plants and animals introduced into an ecosystem Impact is often catastrophic to native species Islands are very sensitive to ecological disruption Exotic species that have caused problems in Australia include: Rabbits Foxes Mice Water buffalo Cane toads Prickly pear cactus Sheep Cattle Dromedary camels The Rabbit War Must Be Won!
8.6.4 Antarctica World’s 5th largest continent (ranks as the windiest and driest) Human drama in exploration, bravery, and foolhardiness Climate Summers include “whiteouts” caused by light refraction on snow and ice covering about 95% of the continent Winters are mainly dark, with average temperatures the coldest in the world The “Ozone Hole” is concentrated seasonally over Antarctica Important locale for scientific research Virtually no human settlement beyond research teams Public, economic, and geopolitical interests are increasing Several countries claim areas of the continent These claims put on hold since 1961 due to the Antarctic Treaty Forbids any exploitation of Antarctica’s natural resources until 2048