Palau is an island country in the western Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the western chain of the Caroline Islands with parts of the Federated States of Micronesia. It has a total area of 466 square kilometers. Palau shares maritime boundaries with international waters to the north, Micronesia to the east, Indonesia to the south, and the Philippines to the north west.
Palau has a history of strong environment conservation. For example, Ngerukewid islands and the surrounding area are protected under the Ngerukewid Islands Wildlife Preserve, which was established in 1956.
While much of Palau remains free of environmental degradation, areas of concern include illegal dynamite fishing, inadequate solid waste disposal facilities in Koror and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon. As with other Pacific island nations, rising sea level presents a major environmental threat. However, according to the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research average carbon dioxide emissions per person were 60 tonnes in 2019, the highest in the world and mostly from transport. Inundation of low-lying areas threatens coastal vegetation, agriculture, and an already insufficient water supply. Wastewater treatment is a problem, along with the handling of toxic waste from fertilizers and biocides.
One species of saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, is also indigenous to Palau, occurring in varying numbers throughout the mangroves and in parts of the Rock Islands. Although this species is generally considered extremely dangerous, there has only been one fatal human attack, on 28 December 1965, in Palau in modern history. This attack led to a crocodile eradication program and trade in crocodile hides that ran into the 1980s. In Palau, the largest crocodile measured 4.5 meters,
The nation is also vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms. Palau already has a problem with inadequate water supply and limited agricultural areas to support its population.
Palau contains the Palau tropical moist forests terrestrial ecoregion. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 8.09/10, ranking it 27th globally out of 172 countries.