ATOLL VEGETATION AND BIOGEOGRAPHY: A STUDY OF FLORISTIC POVERTY, DEGRADATION AND ENDANGERMENT

R. R. Thaman

Professor of Pacific Islands Biogeography, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

The paper, which is based on over 25 years of study of atoll vegetation and floras, is a preliminary contribution to the Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect Network (PABITRA), a collaborative program to investigate the functioning of biodiversity and the health of ecosystems in the tropical Pacific Islands. It is also written as a tribute to the late F.R. “Ray” Fosberg, the “Father of the Atoll Research Bulletin”, a person who gave most of his life to nurturing our interest in, and furthering our understanding of, the uniqueness, beauty, and ecological and cultural importance of atoll vegetation. The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the vegetation and botanical biodiversity of the atolls of both the Pacific and Indian Oceans, including an analysis of the floristics of both indigenous and introduced species. It will also examine the highly degraded and endangered status of a high percentage of atoll ecosystems, vegetation associations and species. The natural and cultural factors responsible for this state of degradation and endangerment are also examined.

 

Abstract from: 43rd Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science, July 23-28, 2000, Nagano, Japan.


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Last Updated: 08/18/00

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