The Tuamotu Archipelago are a French Polynesian chain of just under 80 islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean. They constitute the largest chain of atolls in the world, extending over an area roughly the size of Western Europe. Their combined land area is 850 square kilometres.
The sparse soil of the coral islands does not support diverse vegetation. The coconut palm, which is the basis of copra production, is of special economic importance. On a few of the islands, vanilla is also cultivated. Agriculture is generally otherwise limited to simple subsistence. Fruit and vegetable staples include yams, taro, breadfruit, and a wide range of tropical fruit. Pandanus leaves are traditionally woven together to make mats, hats, and roof thatches. However, many of the roofs nowadays are made of corrugated sheet-metal.
The species-rich reefs are home to a diverse range of underwater fauna. The surface creatures are primarily seabirds, insects, and lizards. The Tuamotus have 86 species of birds, ten of which are endemic, including the Tuamotu kingfisher, the Tuamotu reed warbler, and the Tuamotu sandpiper. Thirteen species are globally threatened, and one has gone extinct.