19 Jul 2016

Pacific coconuts threatened by rising tides

6:40 am on 19 July 2016

Coconut trees in the Pacific may have to be planted further inland due to rising sea levels.

Coconuts on the seaside in Vanuatu.

Coconuts on the seaside in Vanuatu. Photo: Copyright: shanin / 123RF Stock Photo

Agriculture specialist Mike Burke said coconuts won't die out anytime soon, but climate change may affect where they can be grown.

He said coastal erosion was affecting coconut palms from Papua New Guinea to Solomon Islands and coconuts are rotting from the inside from salt water.

"The reports that im seeing at the moment about coconuts being impacted by sea level rise is erosion, coastal erosion."

"We're seeing the root ball of the coconut is undermined by the rising sea level and higher storm activity and then the palms fall over," he said.

Dr Burke said apart from the income coconuts provide, coconut crop damage mainly effects peoples diet.