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Federated States of Micronesia

State of Environment Report 2018

The Federated States of Micronesia State of Environment Report (SoE) examines major drivers of change to the environment that emerge from global, regional and national factors. It evaluates the main environmental pressures created by these drivers, and examines their environmental impact. The SoE also gives actionable recommendations as a nation to improve the environment for sustainable growth. The SoE Report is a useful reference to guide national development efforts and to improve livelihoods. Information in the SoE Report will help improve environmental decision-making and in the allocation of resources to better protect the environment.

Mixed results for FSM’s environment

FSM’s Forests

FSM has a long history of disturbance from human settlement and use, which has influenced the forest structure and species composition over time.
FSM lost about 17% of forest cover between 1976 to 2006. The main driver of forest loss has been conversion of native forest to agroforestry.

Forest loss in Pohnpei has been particularly severe with ongoing conversion of upland forest to Kava production.

Changes in Pohnpei native forest cover between 1975-1995

The Yela forest in Kosrae provides a model for the protection of FSM’s remaining forests

The Yela Conservation Easement protects the largest remaining strand of Ka (Terminalia carolinensis) forest in the world. With the Conservation Easement in place, the landowners retain the title to their land, but in return agree that no development will occur in the area that will compromise the health and integrity of the forest. A Trust Fund was established which compensates the landowners annually. The success of this arrangement means that the landowners and the state of Kosrae will ensure that the forest is managed and conserved in perpetuity. Importantly, the landowners can continue to receive financial benefit from their land without negative impacts to the forest.

Traditional and historical sites

Few national heritage sites in FSM have formal preservation or management in place, but due to community respect and land ownership there is limited access to these sites. Some sites are well preserved due to scientific research values, or by having eco-tourism value where funding is generated to assist maintenance.

The World Heritage-listed Nan Madol is one of FSM’s most important cultural sites.

The site was part of the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur Dynasty, which united Pohnpei’s estimated 25,000 people until about 1628. The huge scale of the edifices, their technical sophistication and the concentration of megalithic structures bear testimony to complex social and religious practices of the island societies of the period. Risk to the site include the siltation of waterways that is contributing to the unchecked growth of mangroves and undermining of edifices. There are efforts underway to improve accessibility and management of the site.

Chuuk Lagoon has one of the largest ship graveyards in the world, with more than 50 World War II wrecks.

A significant portion of the Japanese fleet was stationed within Chuuk lagoon during WWII. During Operation Hailstone, which lasted three days in February 1944, American carrier-based planes sank 12 Japanese warships (light cruisers, destroyers, and auxiliaries) and 32 merchant ships. With its 50 plus wrecks, many still in considerably good condition and in warm, clear water, Chuuk Lagoon has become a diver ’s paradise. The ships and war relics, and the natural flora and fauna built up around them, provide a unique natural and cultural heritage seascape. Management is important to prevent loss of these internationally significant cultural and natural heritage sites, which play a critical role in the Chuuk economy related to dive tourism.

FSM have committed to making environmental data more available for all states through the FSM environment portal

Pohnpei State Kosrae State Chuuk State Yap State


The FSM State of Environment Report 2018 was prepared with the approval of the FSM national Government through the leadership of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management (DECEM) and States representatives and supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

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Data and knowledge resources

A growing number of data portals, knowledge libraries, and communication materials are available to support Pacific environmental management. The following are external links to the major environmental information resources.

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