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Hunt and Lipo’s vision, therefore, is one of an island populated by peaceful and ingenious moai builders and careful stewards of the land, rather than by reckless destroyers ruining their own environment and society. I thought it is used before a plural noun.

( Source: http://mini-ielts.com/394/view-solution/reading/what-destroyed-the-civilisation-of-easter-island )

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    'One' is counting visions, not islands. Since 'vision' is already singular (and possessed), the sentence still works if you delete the 'one' (keeping the 'of' -- there is "a vision of an island"). – amI Mar 9 at 4:53
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This isn't "one" the noun or even "one" the adjective. This is the pronoun "one", used to reduce repetitiveness with a noun stated earlier. Another way to say this same thing:

Hunt and Lipo’s vision, therefore, is a vision of an island populated by peaceful and ingenious moai builders and careful stewards of the land. Their vision is not an island populated by reckless destroyers ruining their own environment and society.

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