SPC Geoscience Division

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3 - 9 NOVEMBER 2012

2nd SPC/SOPAC Division Meeting 2012 (SOPAC-2)

SPC Headquarters, Noumea

Information Circular

Provisional Agenda


Meeting Papers

Star Call for Papers for 2012

The Meeting will run for three days (Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th November) and will be preceded by the SOPAC Science Technology and Resources (STAR) Meeting and a joint meeting of STAR and the Circum Pacific Council (CPC).



New technologies will change the way people live in Pacific Island countries. This is according to Dr Wolf Forstreuter, GIS and Remote Sensing Unit specialist at SOPAC, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

Dr Forstreuter said recent work to detect and analyse changes in vegetation on the Kiribati Islands of Aranuka and Maiana had important implications for all Pacific Islands.

“By overlaying recent satellite imagery on maps that were drawn from aerial photographs taken in 1969 of the Kiribati islands of Aranuka and Maiana, it is possible to detect any changes that have occurred,” he said.

“Not only can we assess the impact of people on the environment, we can assess whether this has been positive or negative. One of the surprises of this study was to discover that new mangrove areas are visible on the coast of both islands.”

Dr Forstreuter said this could be because of the 1969 photography-taking place during high tide, followed by misinterpretation by mapmakers in Britain.

“But the very real possibility is that the mangroves are increasing because they have been protected by the island’s inhabitants,” he said.

The comparison between the older maps overlaid with recent satellite images also shows the spread of settlements and changes to bodies of water.

“This information becomes a useful planning tool for the future. Where should settlements develop? What water is available for such development? Where and what types of farming should be planned to support these settlements?” he said.