SAC # 68

Weeds, Wildfires, and World War II: Environmental Legacies on a Small Pacific Island



TIME | 25 June 2009, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | Seminar Room, Centre for Innovation, 87 St. David St.

SPEAKER | Dr. Reed M. Perkins


The small island of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (<100 km2) had a challenging and transformative experience through the 20th century. The dominant event, World War II, not only clearly changed the island’s culture (shifting from Japanese to American colonial influence) and economy (accelerating the shift to a market economy), it also had immediate and long-lasting impacts on Yap’s ecology. These impacts include the obvious (bomb craters) and less obvious (introduction of new species), as well as the very subtle (changes in generational values and expectations). Together, these changes are having a dramatic cumulative effect. In this seminar, I will present the efforts of local Yapese agencies, working with students and faculty of Queens University of Charlotte (NC, USA), to monitor and reverse these trends. In particular, I will describe efforts to build a local GPS and GIS capacity so that ownership of the monitoring process resides with the Yapese.

About the Speaker

Reed Perkins is on sabbatical leave to the University of Otago from the Department of Environmental Science at Queens University of Charlotte (NC, USA). He received his BA in Philosophy (1986) and MS in Resource Policy (1990) from The University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Forest Hydrology (1997) from Oregon State University. At Queens, he developed the Micronesian Islands Environmental Study Program, in which Queens students and faculty work with scientists and government personnel of Yap and Kosrae (member states of the Federated States of Micronesia) to develop a local GIS capacity and monitor the islands’ ecosystems. He also enjoys ice cream, scuba diving, and bad jokes, just not at the same time.


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