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Coetzee, J.C., Adams, J.B., Bate, G.C.: A botanical importance rating system for estuaries. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 2: 131-138, 1996.


Abstract. In many semi-arid areas, estuaries are threatened because of freshwater impoundment. Estuaries are important sites for ecological diversity and, increasingly, for recreation. A system has been developed which rates estuaries according to their botanical importance. A formula allows a single numerical importance score to be calculated. The area cover of each estuarine plant community type (i.e. intertidal salt marsh, submerged macrophytes, reed/sedge swamps and supratidal salt marsh) and its importance in the estuary forms the basis of the score. The ‘ecological condition’ of the plant community and the community richness within the estuary are incorporated into the formula. The formula is effective in determining the botanical importance of estuaries. Further methods to determine the zoological, physical and socio-economic importance of estuaries need to be developed to allow the overall importance of estuaries to be determined.

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