Federated States of Micronesia

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Landforms

A spectacular and diverse landscape made up of 2,000-foot-high mountain peaks, deeply gorged river valleys, cascading waterfalls, rolling hills, open grassland, lush mangrove forests, fringing coral reefs and protected lagoons, not to mention secluded and unspoiled sandy beaches.


Climates

tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage


Plants and animals

Plants known solely from Micronesia include the palms Clinostigma ponapensis, Metroxylon amicarum , Ponapea hosinoi, andPonapea ledermanniana. Other endemic plants include the Ka TreeTerminalia carolinensis, the Pohnpei Cinnamon Tree Cinnamomum carolinense, a pepper Piper ponapense, a giant gingerAlpinia carolinensis, a tree fern Cyathea nigricans, Palaquium karrak , Antidesma ponapense, a mangosteen Garcinia trukensis, Macaranga kanehirae, Parkia korom, Hoya schneei, Claoxylon carolinianum, Trichospermum ikutai, Timonius albus, and several orchids: Dendrobium kraemeri, Phreatia pacifica, Robiquetia trukensis, and Glomera carolinensis. Native terrestrial mammals of the FSM include five endemic species and subspecies of fruit bats of the genusPteropus and a sheath-tailed bat of the genus Emballonura. Introduced mammals include 3 species of rats, a mouse, deer, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, rabbits and cattle, all of which can have damaging impacts on native biodiversity. 119 species of birds have been reported in the FSM. These include 31 resident seabirds, 33 migratory shorebirds, 19 migratory land or wetland birds and 5 vagrant species. Each state of the FSM has one or more endemic species or subspecies. There are over 27 species of reptiles, most of them native and at least one endemic.


Natural Resources

timber, marine products, deep-seabed minerals, phosphate



History

The islands, inhabited by Micronesian and Polynesian peoples, were colonized by Spain in the 17th century. Germany purchased them from Spain in 1898. They were occupied by the Japanese in 1914, but American forces seized them from the Japanese during World War II. On April 2, 1947, the United Nations Security Council created the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The trust placed the Northern Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall Islands under the administration of the United States.

People and Language

English is the official language and is taught in the schools. The indigenous languages are of the Malayo-Polynesian family. Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Trukese, Pohnpeian, and Kosraean are classed as Malaysian. Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro, spoken on two isolated atolls of the same names in Pohnpei, are Polynesian languages. The islanders are classified as Micronesians of Malayo-Mongoloid origins. The people of the Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi atolls in southwestern Pohnpei are of Polynesian descent. In total, there are nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups. Noncitizens are prohibited from owning land and holding certain occupations. Non-Micronesians are generally not granted citizenship.


Land use

Agriculture is a major part of the FSM economy, but much of this is subsistence agriculture and not recorded in the GDP. Breadfruit, banana, taro, yam, sweet potato, cassava, coconut and tropical fruits are the main staples, in addition to fish and seafood. Pigs and chickens are the predominant livestock. The main export commodities include fish, black pepper, sakau (kava) and betel nut.