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Tonga Geography 1999

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

    Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 175 00 W

    Map references: Oceania

    total: 748 sq km
    land: 718 sq km
    water: 30 sq km

    Area—comparative: four times the size of Washington, DC

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 419 km

    Maritime claims:
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

    Terrain: most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m

    Natural resources: fish, fertile soil

    Land use:
    arable land: 24%
    permanent crops: 43%
    permanent pastures: 6%
    forests and woodland: 11%
    other: 16% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    Natural hazards: cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou

    Environment—current issues: deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Geography—note: archipelago of 170 islands (36 inhabited)

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    Revised 1-Mar-99
    Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)