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Earth's Tropical Islands

The definitive guide to three of the world’s most iconic islands.

Three iconic islands. Contained ecosystems, cut off from the mainland. For their wildlife and human castaways, islands seem like sanctuaries. But there’s a price to pay for living in paradise.

Four in five of all global extinctions have happened on islands. In a rapidly changing world, they gauge the health of the planet. Islands explores the wildlife, history and culture of these unique habitats.

Madagascar. Earth’s oldest island, cast away from Africa and India 80 million years ago. This land of plenty shows what strange forms life can take when it’s left to experiment.

Borneo. A lost world, cut off from a vast mainland by rising sea levels. Swimming monkeys, giant orange apes and swarms of jellyfish trapped in jungle lakes. Isolated from the world, only the most tenacious island inhabitants can survive here.

Hawaii. Formed from a chain of volcanoes – the world’s most remote archipelago. Hawaii once gained one new species every 100,000 years. Today it gains around 20 annually. An island this remote could be devastated by such dramatic change. It’s an insight into the future of Earth’s islands.

Meet the scientists struggling to protect these precious havens. They’re at the frontline of the fight to save our planet’s ecology. And with the massive environmental challenges we’re set to face in the coming years, these distinct environments are now more relevant than ever.

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