Article

Habitat-Based Diversity Assessment of Mangroves of Thane Creek, West Coast, India

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Abstract

A habitat-based plant diversity assessment was carried out in order to appraise the current status of the mangroves of Thane creek (Maharashtra, India) for appropriate measures for conservation of the fragile ecosystem. ‘Partially protected’ and ‘disturbed’ are the two major categories of habitat recognized during the study. In addition, mangrove vegetation of each habitat is quantitatively analyzed for its diversity (species richness and distribution) and growth parameters (above ground biomass). Habitat is found to be responsible for the physicochemical setup of mangrove swamps, which decides a community pattern in mangroves. Out of the 18 species recorded from the Maharashtra coast, Thane creek exhibits eight mangroves, viz., Avicennia marina Vahl., Avicennia officinalis L., Bruguiera cylindrica Bl., Sonneratia apetala Buch.-Ham., Ceriops tagal Robin, Excoecaria agallocha L., Acanthus ilicifolius L. and Aegiceras corniculatum Blanco. No zonation pattern could be recognized within the present day mangrove forest. In general, the vegetation is dominated by Avicennia marina, which has an ecologically successful Importance Value Index (IVI) of 157.29 and is most resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses, while others are susceptible to environmental stress and gradually shrink. The results exhibited significant diversity and distribution in partially protected areas. In severely degraded areas, A. ilicifolius grows in abundance, indicating secondary succession.

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... This shows the mono-species dominance of mangroves along the Mumbai coast. Recently, Shindikar et al. (2009) also reported the dominance of A. marina in mangrove forests of Thane Creek along the Mumbai coast. The dominance of A. marina is common along the Arabian Sea bordering countries and the northwest coast of India. ...
... Since then a number of reports on mangrove forests and communities from different geographical regions of India have been published (Kothari and Rao, 1995;Blasko and Aizpura, 1997;Mandal, 1999 andKathiresan, 2000;Shindikar et al., 2009;Vijay Kumar and Vijaya Kumar, 2012;Ram and Shaji, 2013). ...
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