Oceania comprises Australia, New Zealand and the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories making up Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Although Oceania covers over 100 million square kilometres of the tropical Pacific Ocean, the region has a total land area of just over 8.5 million square km. The total human population is estimated at approximately 35 million, of whom nearly ninety percent live in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Oceania has extremely high species diversity, with many endemics, and a diverse range of ecosystems, ranging from tropical coral reefs of the Pacific Island nations to the mountains, fjords and glaciers of New Zealand and inland deserts of Australia. Throughout Oceania, people are reliant on natural resources for food security, with many cultures attaching spiritual and religious values to ecosystems and their components.
Oceania’s natural resources are under increasing pressure from a rapidly expanding human population, particularly in the Pacific Island countries and territories. Habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution, mining and agricultural activities, invasive species and human-induced climate change are major threats to the region’s biodiversity.