Broadscale coastal environmental assessments of the Chagos Archipelago

A broadscale environmental assessment of Chagos was undertaken at 21 sites, based on analysis of ordinal data on the abundance of ecosystems and magnitude of human uses/impacts. Study sites were characterized by high abundance of freshwater vegetation, whereas mangroves and other halophytes were not recorded. Of the fauna, abundances of corals, fish and invertebrates were high, as might be expected. Beach oil was observed at 38% of the sites, but at barely discernible levels. Solid waste, including plastics and metal debris was recorded at every site, often in large quantities. Cluster analysis of the environmental data was used to classify the sites. These separated weakly into three groupings at a similarity coefficient of 0.85. Diego Garcia and Ile du Coin constituted the most distinctive grouping, and were associated with extensive construction. Broad environmental comparisons were made between Chagos and other regions assessed using the same methodology. Using a simple database, sites associated with particular environmental conditions were identified. Of particular significance in coastal management is the location of key resource areas, and where biological resources do and do not overlap with resource-uses/impacts. Of the potential threats to Chagos, tourism and yachting may become of particular concern.
Price Andrew .
Scleractnia (hard corals),fish(other),seagrasses,halophytes,rats,marine algae,freshwater flora,birds,turtles, broadscale environmental assessment, rapid environmental assessment