The Independent State of Samoa is located in the southern Pacific Ocean about 2 900 km north-east of New Zealand. It occupies the larger western portion of the Samoan archipelago that is divided at longitude 171° west between the country of Samoa to the west and American Samoa, a United States territory, to the east.
Samoa is made up of nine islands with a total land area of 2 831 km2, but the two largest islands, Savai'i and Upolu make up more than 99 percent of the land. They are of volcanic origin and their mountainous interiors are covered with dense rain forests. The surrounding landscape consists of fertile plateaux and coastal plains with numerous rivers and streams. Samoa's seven smaller islands are Apolima, Manono, Fanuatapu, Nu'ulopa, Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, and Nu'usafee, of which only Apolima and Manono are inhabited. Mount Silisili, on Savai'i, is the country's highest peak with an elevation of 1858 m.
The climate is oceanic tropical with high temperatures and humidity. Apia, which lies on the northern coast of Upolu, has an average daily temperature range of 21° to 31° C, with little seasonal variation, and an average annual precipitation of 2 850 mm. Most rainfall occurs on the windward southern sides of the islands, however, where the annual precipitation can range from 5 080 mm to 7 110 mm. The heaviest rainfall occurs between the months of November and April, and cyclones, which are relatively frequent, are most likely to occur during these same months.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.