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Funafuti from the air

Funafuti land cover types

Despite Tuvalu’s small land area and limited nearshore marine area, considerable ecosystem diversity is recognized by local communities. The main ‘natural” vegetation types, of which there are also many combinations and shared species, have been discussed in detail by Woodroffe in his “Vegetation of Tuvalu” (1991), including highly modified agricultural areas, village gardens and ruderal sites that constitute the main terrestrial ecosystems or land cover types found in Tuvalu. The areas of beaches, coral rubble and beach rock, which overlap with and grade into the coastal littoral forest and scrub, mangroves and intertidal flats (which is discussed above) are an important cover type on the interface between the land and sea that protect Tuvalu’s atolls from coastal erosion and saltwater incursion. The main ecosystems or land cover types are discussed briefly below