Fiji/Geography

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Fiji comprises a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific lying about 4,450 km (2,775 mi.) southwest of Honolulu and 1,770 km (1,100 mi.) north of New Zealand. Its 322 islands range in size from the large--Vitu Levu (where Suva and 70% of the population are located) and Vanua Levu--to much smaller islands, of which just over 100 are inhabited. The larger islands contain mountains as high as 1,200 meters (4,000 ft.) rising abruptly from the shore. Heavy rains (up to 304 cm or 120 inches annually) fall on the windward (southeastern) side, covering these sections of the islands with dense tropical forest. Lowlands on the western portions of each of the main islands are sheltered by the mountains and have a well-marked dry season favorable to crops such as sugarcane.

More than half of Fiji's population lives on the island coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centers. The interior is sparsely populated due to its rough terrain.

Location: Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates: 18 00 S, 175 00 E

Map references: Oceania

Area:
total: 18,270 sq km
land: 18,270 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,129 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; rectilinear shelf claim added
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tomanivi 1,324 m

Natural resources: timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 10%
forests and woodland: 65%
other: 11% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: cyclonic storms can occur from November to January

Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: includes 332 islands of which approximately 110 are inhabited