||Taiwan is an island surrounded by sea. Due to the topography, the coastal wetlands distribute almost around the west seashore, and some at the estuary of the east seashore. The coastal wetland is a transitional area between territory ecosystem and marine ecosystem. The environment of the coastal wetland is influenced by tide and season, thus the distribution of vegetations here exhibits a dynamic equilibrium.|
This study attempts to investigate the distribution and composition of the vegetation and the appearance of the habitat environment at the coastal wetland of Taiwan. According to the results, 173 species belonging to 50 families have been recorded. This indicates that the diversity of the marsh vegetation at the coastal wetland is low. Most of the species belong to Gramineae, Compositae and Cyperaceae. Paspalum vaginatum and Phragmites karka are the most dominant plant at coastal marsh environments.
According to the results of detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) and cluster analysis (CA), 16 vegetation types including one subtype and one transitional type are classified. The habitats of these vegetation types can be classified into five types, namely tidal fresh water marsh, fresh water-salt marsh, wet meadow, salt marsh and submerged environment. Most of these vegetation types have only one major dominant species.
The distribution of the marsh vegetation features a belting pattern, which is mainly limited by the maximum of their salt tolerance from coastal toward inland, or estuary toward headwaters. Subsequently, it can by influenced by soil moisture and pH value. Furthermore, the vegetations are influenced by many additional environmental factors, resulting in a mosaic distribution of vegetation types.
The marsh vegetation is processing at an unstable and developing period. Because the coastal wetland is seriously disturbed by human activities, the environmental variation becomes greater. Therefore, the transitional vegetations were observed frequently. Finally, the development pressure due to economic demand is the major cause that makes coastal wetland disappeared. It is urgently needed to protect this sensitive natural resource.