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Free Content Fragmentation of the Land-Water Margin Within the Northern and Central Indian River Lagoon Watershed

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Salt marshes, mangrove swamps, estuarine shrubs, tidal fiats and estuarine waters dominate the natural communities of the coastal zone comprising approximately 35% of the northern and central Indian River Lagoon watershed. Fragmentation of natural communities within the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem has compartmentalized ecological and physiographic functions that once operated at a larger scale. Natural community and land cover GIS databases were used to identify shoreline areas within the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem that, because of their context within the landscape, have become highly fragmented. Estuarine natural communities occupied about 700 km of the 1,700 km land-water margin. Almost 40% of these salt marsh and swamp communities existed in isolated areas, 10 to 12,000 ha in size. Large natural area fragments, with high natural community heterogeneity, contiguous with the estuary were identified as areas for land acquisition. Maintaining the diversity of ecological and physiographical functions within the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem is imperative for it's long-term conservation. Land management and planning agencies must incorporate both the content and context of natural area units within the Indian River Lagoon to properly conserve the integrity of the ecosystem.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1995

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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