Ecosystem Destruction

Massive sand tubes being constructed in Walton County, Florida Massive sand tubes being constructed in Walton County, Florida under the ecologically-appealing euphemism of "dune enhancement devices." Photo: Gary Appleson, Caribbean Conservation Corporation.

A variety of threatened or endangered organisms use the beach as a vital part of their life cycle. The nearshore ecosystem extends from the meiofauna that exist between sand grains to the carnivorous fish that roam the surf zone.

Components include birds that feed and nest on the beach such as the piping plover (US east coast) and various turtles that lay their eggs here. The first steps in protecting birds, turtle nests and the rest of this ecosystem must be the protection of a natural, un-engineered beach.

Another major threat to beach ecosystems around the world is the ever increasing human population in coastal areas. The global migration of people towards the coast causes competition between humans and other species and humans usually negatively impact other species. New construction in coastal communities destroys beach ecosystems with every parking lot paved, road expanded, or sand dune lost. This increase also puts a burden on sanitation systems, transportation networks, and increases pollution in these diverse ecosystems.


Surfing in / Ecosystem Destruction

Coastal recovery: bringing a damaged wetland back to life

An ambitious wetlands restoration project is underway on Delaware Bay, where scientists are using innovative methods to revive a badly damaged salt marsh. The project could be a model for other places seeking to make coastal wetlands more resilient to rising seas and worsening storms.

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One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns

The bonds that hold nature together may be at risk of unraveling from deforestation, overfishing, development, and other human activities, a landmark United Nations report warns. Thanks to human pressures, one million species may be pushed to extinction in the next few years, with serious consequences for human beings as well as the rest of life on Earth.

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What’s the future for Sri Lanka’s ‘lost’ population of whales?

Flocking tourists are making it less of a safe place for these stunning animals.

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Tapping fresh water under the ocean has consequences

Coastal communities may consider using offshore groundwater resources as populations increase and the limited freshwater resources are degraded by overuse and pollution, but new research suggests tapping into them could lead to adverse impacts onshore.

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The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas?

From Thailand to Bali, a huge increase in tourists, many from China and other rapidly developing economies, is straining sensitive ecosystems to the breaking point. Some countries are trying to control the boom, with a few closing popular destinations to allow damaged areas to heal.

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Russia will release 10 orcas, 87 belugas from overcrowded ‘whale jail’

Russian authorities and marine life advocates have signed an agreement to release nearly 100 marine mammals being held in the so-called “whale jail” on Russia’s Far East coast. The whales were illegally captured last summer and fall by four Russian companies that reportedly planned to sell them to marine parks in China.

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As mass timber takes off, how green is this new building material?

Mass timber construction is on the rise, with advocates saying it could revolutionize the building industry and be part of a climate change solution. But some are questioning whether the logging and manufacturing required to produce the new material outweigh any benefits.

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Sea turtles struggle years after unexplained die-off

New research is detailing how environmental stressors, including heavy metals, brought on by human activity are harming coastal green sea turtle populations – work that researchers hope will inform conservation efforts going forward.

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Marine heat waves threaten the survival of dolphins and other mammals

dolphins

A marine heat wave in Western Australia that had lasting impacts on dolphin populations may be a disturbing sign of things to come, according to a new study. The researchers have determined that climate change will have more devastating consequences for marine mammals than what was previously realized.

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