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Why Islands




Left: Lake Tiriara, Mangaia Island, Cook Islands. Right: Threatened local kingfisher, Palaui Island, Philippines (June 2008).

Invaluable Biodiversity

Islands are the earth's great repositories of biological diversity. Thanks to their favorable climates and historic isolation, islands are home to thousands of species that do not exist elsewhere. The coral reefs that surround many islands are often referred to as the "rainforests of the ocean" because of their astonishing marine life. Many islands are home to mangrove forests, the breeding grounds and nurseries for countless species of fish. Even small islands have huge territorial claims to the surrounding oceans. All told, the exclusive economic zones of islands cover one sixth of the world's surface and harbor one half of its marine biodiversity.

Under Threat

But island ecosystems and cultures are threatened as never before. They have a disproportionately high number of endangered species. Seventy two percent of all plant and animal extinctions recorded in U.S. history have occurred in Hawaii. On a global basis, 75 percent of all recent animal extinctions have occurred on islands. Their ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to damage caused by introduced species. Coral reefs are so endangered that 70 percent will cease to function as healthy ecosystems in the next 50 years unless remedial action is taken immediately. Fifty percent of the world's mangrove forests have already been destroyed. Because of their low sea levels, islands are particularly susceptible to the ill effects of global warming.

Seacology's Track Record

As of 2014, Seacology has funded over 250 island projects in 55 countries across the world, of which 87% are on islands recognized as economically challenged. Due to the size and remoteness of many islands, few charity resources have been devoted to humanitarian assistance and conservation there.  Seacology projects help to enhance the livelihoods of disadvantaged island populations. In addition, our approach has furthered the preservation of almost 1.5 million acres of threatened island habitats that are not only a precious global treasure, but comprise the lifeblood of these communities.