STRUCTURE AND REGENERATION OF THE MANGROVE FORESTS OF CIÉNAGA DE CHOLÓN, ISLA BARÚ, NATURAL NATIONAL PARK CORALES DEL ROSARIO Y SAN BERNARDO, COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN
Mangroves are trees or shrubs which represent a relevant link in the transmition between marine and land environments. With high importance at the biological and socio-economic level, mangroves constitute one of the strategic marine ecosystems of Colombia. Along the Caribbean coast of Colombia, mangrove forests are established around marshes or coastal lagoons; most of them have scarce scintific information which described these ecosystems at a qualitative level, but also which shows their biological processes and characteristics in a quantitative form. Given the importance of these ecosystems, the present work contributes to the direct and recent knowledge of the structure, distribution, abundance and regeneration capacity of the mangrove forest in Ciénaga de Cholón (Isla Barú, Bolívar province). Using surveys and in-situ observations, general height averages were calculated at 3.42 m, DAP at 4.94 cm and density of 21 trees 100 m-2, where seedlings was the dominant diametric category, followed by stem-wood; saplings constitued a smaller percentage. Mangrove species found were Rhizophora mangle and Avicennia germinans, with average heights of 3.45 and 2.93 m, and DAP of 4.45 and 3.29 cm respectively. Rhizophora mangle was the dominant species, being found in all the stations, while A. germinans was found only in two of the stations sampled, coinciding with particular soils requirements for the settlement and develoopment of each species. Regarding regeneration, a total of 117 R. mangle juvenile plants were evaluated in four stations, calculating a growth rate of 0.69 cm month-1 and a density average of 1.28 plants m-2. It is expected that the information obtained will allow for the evaluation of changes of this mangrove forest over time, contributing to guarantee the conservation and sustainable management of a valuable ecosystem and the National Natural Park Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo, sehre Cholón is located.
Mangrove; Ciénaga de Cholón; Structure; Density; Growth
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