Location of Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest
Maldives, Lakshadweep and Chagos are three island groups in Indian Ocean. These together form a vast submarine mountain range, the Chagos-Laccadive Plateau. This volcanic range lies just east of the Mid-Indian Ridge and west of the Mid-Indian Basin. The Vema Fracture Zone lies underwater to the southeast of Chagos. The chain of islands is aligned north to south between 72 degree to 74 degree east. Altogether, the Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest comprises the most extensive coral reef and atoll community in the Indian Ocean as well as the largest atoll system in the world.
Lakshadweep or Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands is the closest group to the mainland. This is lying a little more than 300 km from the Kerala coast of India, at 8 degree to 4 degree North. Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands is comprised of 36 islands of 200 to 440 kilometers off the south western coast of India.
These thirty-six tiny islands make up Lakshadweep's land area of 32 square kilometers. A few of these islands are little more than sandbanks, and only ten are inhabited. These islands form the Lakshadweep Union Territory of India. Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest of Lakshadweep or Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands is located with the extent of Maldives, to the south of Lakshadweep, lies on the equator at 7 degree North and is the largest group of islands. There are approximately 1,190 Maldivian islands; the number fluctuates as islands come and go with climate and sea level change. All together, Maldives covers an area of 298 square kilometers.
Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest is composed entirely of low coral reef associated coralline structures, and sandy islands, which have grown upon the crest of the submarine Chagos-Laccadive Ridge. Many islands in Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest compose each ring-shaped island, and the highest islands reach only 5 m above sea level. Therefore the smaller islands are often washed away or submerged with a small rise in sea level. The Maldivian islands are a classic example of its kind, containing extensive and largely intact reefs, and comprising perhaps one of the world's most complex reef systems.
The Chagos Archipelago has the largest expanse of undisturbed reefs in the Indian Ocean, as well as some of the most diverse. In addition to five islands, including the Great Chagos Bank, the world's largest atoll in terms of area, there are two areas of raised reef and several large submerged reefs. There are no ancient rocks in the archipelago's current geological structure.
Climate of Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest
The climate of Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest is of monsoon tropical type, with a dry season associated with the winter northeast monsoon lasting December to March. The rainy season starting after March with the coming of southwest monsoon winds from April to October. The annual rainfall varies from lows around 1,600 millimeters in the drier Lakshadweep Islands, to highs over 3,800 mm in parts of the southern Maldives. Temperatures vary little this close to the equator, generally ranging between 24 degree Celsius and 30 degree Celsius. The humidity is usually high, though constant breezes are which are present to stir the air. The monsoons can be severe, occasionally causing tidal waves capable of uprooting large trees, flooding arable land with seawater, and destroying houses and piers.
Natural Vegetation of the Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago Tropical Moist Forest
The natural vegetation of the Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forest in the Maldives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago Islands is tropical rain forest. The islands with poorer soil support a shrub cover of hardy salt and drought resistant bushes and Cyperaceae species. However, very little of this native ecosystem remains undisturbed. Littoral trees were once prominent. But the littoral trees are now scattered remnants of the original vegetation are found on some islands.
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