Some Elements of Knowledge on the Coastal Floristic Formations of Martinique (French West Indies)

  •  Philippe Joseph    
  •  Kévine Baillard    


From the middle of the 17th century to the end of the 18th century, the dynamics of land use in Martinique were accompanied by significant landscape transformation. The latter resulted from profound changes in the structural and functional organization of the vegetation. In the end, the history of this small tropical island is a permanent process of biocenonic changes. Despite the limited available data, it is likely that these were accompanied by disappearances of species. This specific diversity erosion mainly concerns the species in the last phases of ecosystemic evolution: particularly those of climax formations. In reality, the successive Antillean societies, formerly agrarian and today characterized by a strong presence of tertiary activities, led to a marked decline in pre-Columbian forests, which are supposed to be primitive. Many coastline forests were soon eliminated. Apart from the very marginal climatic forests protected by the foothills of the Pitons du Carbet and the Pelee Mountain, the secondary forest formations occupy small areas. Isolated in a herbaceous, shrubby and pre-forest vegetation, whose surface is being inexorably reduced due to human activities, they occupy zones that are unsuitable for agriculture, habitation and the various vital infrastructures: slopes, valley or gully bottoms, narrow ridges. The coastline, which was the main settlement location for the first Caribbean societies, is still home to most of the population and economic activities. It is characterized by species, physiognomies and phytocenoses typical of artificialized biotopes. Faced with an inexorable societal development, how can we preserve the floristic, ecosystemic and coastal landscape diversity specific to the patrimonial forest formations which have become natural monuments? 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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