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Lofoten Islands – ISTOCKPHOTO

November 29, 2018. Life / Islands

How many islands are there?

Nicholas D. Holmes, Olivier Langrand, Russell A. Mittermeier, Anthony B. Rylands, Thomas Brooks, Dena R. Spatz, James C. Russell, Wes Sechrest, Federico Méndez Sanchez

The United Nations Environment Program – World Conservation Monitoring Center developed a Global Island Database, collating information on all islands in one consistent format (UNEP-WCMC, 2015).

The most recent version, completed in 2015, identified nearly half a million unique terrestrial bodies classified as islands ranging in size from tiny offshore rock stacks and coral reef islets to the largest islands of Greenland and New Guinea.

Their size distribution is strongly skewed, with 80% of global island area represented by approximately 40 islands. Further, islands are unevenly distributed around the globe, with two-thirds of those greater than one square kilometer being found in the tropics.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “Islands” (2018)

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