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Title: Woody Vegetation on the Raised Coral Limestone of Mangaia, Southern Cook Islands 
Author: Merlin, Mark D.
Date: 1991-04
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Merlin MD. 1991. Woody vegetation on the raised coral limestone of Mangaia, southern Cook Islands. Pac Sci 45(2): 131-151.
Abstract: Mangaia, the second largest (51.8 km2
) of the Cook Islands, has
a central, volcanic region with a maximum elevation of 169 m above sea level.
The igneous interior is surrounded by an extensive formation of elevated coral
limestone as much as 2 km wide and 70 m above sea level. Although the native
vegetation in the volcanic interior has been altered greatly through human
interference, a quantitative survey in the raised limestone region indicates that
plant life on the elevated reefs is still largely dominated by native species. Seventy
percent of the woody species recorded in 20 transects are either indigenous or
endemic to the Cook Islands, and native plants accounted for 88% of the total
basal area covered by the woody vegetation sampled on the raised coral limestone.
Herbaceous ground cover in the study area was almost completely dominated
by native species (99%). Four woody plant associations in the limestone
areas are recognized by dendrogram analysis: (I) mixed native forest, dominated
by Elaeocarpus tonganus; (2) disturbed mixed native forest, dominated by
Hernandia moerenhoutiana or Cocos nucifera; (3) Pandanus scrub; and (4)
Barringtonia forest. Some biogeographical aspects of the relatively undisturbed
limestone forest region and the ecological implications of human disturbance of
the vegetation on Mangaia are also discussed.
ISSN: 0030-8870

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