Higher plants of the Chagos Archipelago
- The islands of Chagos have a total land area of less than 5,000 ha spread over a shallow platform 200 by 300 km in size. All islands are low-lying and share a very similar topography, being formed exclusively from limestone. The sizes of the individual islands range from about 0.5 ha to 2,700 ha. Nearly 280 higher plants, including ferns, have been recorded in the Chagos Archipelago, none of which are endemic species. The original native flora is probably about 45 species, the remainder being accidental or deliberate introductions which have arrived over the last 500 years, many in the last 30 years during the development of military facilities in Diego Garcia. Numbers of both native and introduced species are closely related to the size of the island and to the degree of human interference. Each island is different in its distribution of vegetation, with several distinct vegetation zones and different plant associations, but there is no consistent pattern. Most islands have been affected by extensive coconut plantations established over two centuries, but now that the plantations are abandoned the original native trees are making a slow return.
- Topp John , Sheppard Charles .
- terrestrial flora(other), Biogeography, Island flora, Taxonomy