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Chapter 14 AUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA LEARNING OBJECTIVES - This chapter covers Australia and Oceania, which also includes New Zealand and a sweeping collection of islands that reaches halfway into the Pacific Ocean. - The student should understand the unique geography of archipelagos (island groups) and the equally unique cultural adaptations that the residents of this region have implemented. - The student should understand the relationships between the indigenous peoples of this far- flung region and the European peoples who have come to dominate much of this region and be able to compare this situation to what is found in the United States. - In addition, the student should understand the following concepts and models: · Aborigines and Maoris · Atoll · Archipelago · Coral reefs and atoll islands · Exotics and extinction · Pidgin English · Tsunami ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ CHAPTER OUTLINE I. Introduction A. Oceania contains two distinctly different worlds. Australia and New Zealand are culturally and economically linked with Europe, even though the landforms are distinctly not European. The rest of the region (Oceania) consists of island chains covering the South Pacific. This region is subdivided into three regions: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Oceania is united by historical isolation, culture clashes, and a relatively new political geography. B. Australia and New Zealand dominate this region; Australia has a huge, dry interior (the outback) that is thinly settled. New Zealand has mountains that limit settlement there. C. There are three main archipelagos (island groups) in Oceania: Melanesia (dark islands) is culturally complex; Polynesia (many islands) is linguistically unified; Micronesia (small islands) includes microstates and Guam. II. Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat A. Environments at Risk: this region faces challenges that include seismic hazards, periodic Australian droughts, and tropical cyclones 1. Global resource pressures: mining has had a negative impact on many parts of Australia and Oceania, where semiarid regions are susceptible to metals pollution; deforestation has caused the loss of vast stretches of eucalyptus woodlands to create pastures in Australia; elsewhere (e.g., Papua New Guinea), logging pressures cause deforestation 2. Global warming and rising sea levels: some researchers predict that global warming may cause higher global temperatures to melt polar ice caps, which will in turn raise ocean levels and drown 208
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many islands in Oceania; some islands at low elevations in this region are already experiencing slight increases in water level and increased coastal erosion 3. Nuclear testing: Both France and the United States have used islands in Oceania as nuclear testing sites. Early tests provoked little response, but France’s tests in the 1990s did garner negative feedback. Nuclear testing results
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