School of Environment

Pacific Futures

The Pacific Futures research theme explores the multiple dimensions of the environmental, social, cultural and political challenges confronting Pacific nations. As the largest ocean basin in the world, the Pacific is host to a unique range of marine and terrestrial environments. Overlaying this biophysical template the inhabited island nations of the mid-Pacific and land masses of the Pacific Rim possess a diverse range of cultural, social and political systems. The Pacific is undergoing immense environmental and geopolitical change that threatens the traditional pattern of ‘life’ in many small island nations. Contemporary issues include: defining the threats of climate change; resolving the impact of natural hazards; understanding the dimensions of physical and social vulnerability; exploring transformations in governance; identifying the challenges of development and sustainable livelihoods; and evaluating the pressures of migration and urban expansion. Confronting these future challenges requires robust scholarship to inform future decision-making in the Pacific. The School of Environment has a tradition of research scholarship on Pacific issues. Building on this tradition the School maintains active research projects in Pacific communities and provides leadership in exploring these contemporary research questions.




Our research topics

  • Coastal and reef island change
  • Atoll island formation and evolution
  • Coral reef health
  • Coastal processes
  • Island vulnerability
  • Population change and migration dynamics
  • Urban development
  • Development and livelihoods
  • Diasporic Pasifika populations
  • Impacts of tourism and ecotourism
  • Disaster risk assessment and risk reduction
  • Participatory tools for livelihood assessment and environmental management
  • Participant action research

Key Staff