Untitled Document Rare Plants of Niue



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Niue lies in the South Pacific Ocean at a latitude of 19°S and a longitude of 169°W, between Samoa to the west and the Cook Islands to the east.  The oval-shaped island, with an area of 260 km2 and a maximum elevation of 69 m, was formed in recent geological times by the emergence and elevation of a coral atoll that sits atop a long-dormant undersea volcano.  The outer portion or coastal zone of the island comprises several terraces formed during periods when the island paused during its emergence from the sea.  This series of terraces is quite weathered in some areas and is marked by deep crevices and rugged pinnacles.  The central basin, which makes up the bulk of the island, represents the former lagoon of the atoll.  The surface of the basin is not homogeneous since it varies in soil and rockiness.  Areas with pockets of soil are favored by trees for the growth of dense lowland forests, but also by human inhabitants for the cultivation of food.       

The climate in Niue is wet and tropical.  The mean annual temperature is 25° C, the mean diurnal range is 8° C, and the mean maximum temperature ranges from 21 to 27°C.  Rainfall is relatively heavy with a mean annual total of 204 cm.  The months from June to September are the driest, but even these months average at least 10 cm per month.  Humidity is nearly always high, averaging 89% at 9 a.m. (Wright and van Westerndrop 1965).  Droughts occasionally occur, and cyclones periodically hit the island during the summer months (mostly November to April).  The high rainfall and warm temperatures partly make up for the relatively poor soil conditions and allow the island (the central basin at least) to support a tropical rainforest.

How to Cite this web site:
Thomas, Michael B. and W. A. Whistler. "Page Title." Rare Plants of Niue. CIEER, March 2013. Web. Date Accessed.

Supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Conservation International
© 2013. CIEER. Past last updated: April 22, 2013.