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Islands, Small

  • By: William James Smith & Reed Perkins
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

While one can envision at a global scale that all land is an island between the Earth's vast oceans and seas, relatively small islands dot much of the globe, many of which can easily be traversed by foot in only a few hours. An accurate count of small islands is difficult, as the number changes with tidal conditions and minimum-size requirements. Most are so tiny as to be uninhabited, and a high percentage of them have been termed internationally by organizations such as the United Nations as small-island developing states (SIDS) since 1994. However, there is no formally recognized definition of “small islands.” Approximately, 50 SIDS are located across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Small islands tend to be more environmentally fragile, insular, and ...

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