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The environment of Norfolk Island includes the natural features and the ecological processes that link them together. Humans critically depend upon these natural systems for sustenance, but the natural systems don’t need humans: they functioned in some kind of self-managing equilibrium from time immemorial before humans arrived. The human pressure on the environment is now exceeding the capacity of the natural systems to yield natural resources and ecological services. This is true globally (climate change being the standout example) and is also true of Norfolk.

The pressures that human occupation place upon the environment can be loosely categorised into two:

  • effects that are unavoidable if humans are to live here (for example, catching fish, growing edible crops and felling some of the majestic pines for constructing houses);
  • avoidable destruction and waste.

In the sub-pages linked here we describe some of the avoidable threats and the need for remedial action if the natural features of Norfolk Island are to retain their essential characteristics, their beauty and their usefulness. First, see an explanation of the over-arching concept of ‘sustainability‘.