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Fan S.,CAS South China Botanical Garden | Ren H.,CAS South China Botanical Garden | Wang R.,CAS South China Botanical Garden | Pan C.,China International Engineering Consulting Corporation | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Coastal Research | Year: 2013

In 2009, the Chinese government approved the use of Hengqin Island for a large-scale development that will have serious consequences for plant biodiversity and plant communities in the island ecosystem as a whole. To construct an integrated and healthy vegetation ecosystem on Hengqin Island, we investigated the current vegetation and soil and developed a plan for vegetation conservation and rehabilitation. Satellite images captured over the last 30 years show that the island's coastline has changed greatly and that the forest land, water area, farmland, and urban land has greatly increased because of reclamation. The island currently supports 896 species of vascular plants, which are distributed in nine types of community. The plantation is the dominant community, although there are several patches of secondary forest. The typical soil types are lateritic red soil, salt swamp soil, littoral sandy soil, and fill soil. The poor physical and chemical properties of the soil are considered the limiting factors for vegetation restoration and rehabilitation. We propose to protect the secondary forests and mangroves and to improve the terrestrial plantations. We also recommend that, during the process of island urbanization, vegetation in the protected areas and in the newly constructed urban areas should be spatially connected, i.e. the sea should be connected to the mountain, the remnant forests should be connected to new urban green spaces, and the aquatic plant communities should be connected to the terrestrial plant communities. Hengqin government has adopted these plans and implementation has already begun. © Coastal Education & Research Foundation 2013. Source

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