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

The Speed of Change: Oceans in Distress, An International Report

Sponsored by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats, and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

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Northwest Coast of Madagascar

The Betsiboka Estuary on the northwest coast is the mouth of Madagascar’s largest river and one of the world’s fast-changing coastlines. Nearly a century of extensive logging of rainforests and coastal mangroves has resulted in nearly complete clearing of the land and dramatic rates of erosion. Astronauts describe their view of Madagascar as “bleeding into the ocean.”

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A Giant Brought to Its Knees: The Atlantic Coastal Forest

The Atlantic Forest is a shadow of its former self. Originally covering more than 386,000 sq. miles along Brazil’s coast, extending into eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. Today less than 7% of that cover remains, in the wake of centuries of forest clearing for agriculture and urban development, and fragmented by centuries of unsustainable use and logging.

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Rising sea levels endangering Australia’s World Heritage-listed Kakadu wetlands

A study released by Australia Government, finds that Kakadu National Park, a protected northern territory, half the size of Switzerland, is one of Australia’s “natural ecosystems most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change”, with higher oceans being a “serious risk” to its ecosystem.

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Scientists Argue Against Conclusion That Bacteria Consumed Deepwater Horizon Methane

Some scientists cast doubt on a widely publicized study that concluded that a bacterial bloom in the Gulf of Mexico consumed the methane discharged from the Deepwater Horizon well. The debate has implications for the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

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Mediterranean Sea Invaded by Hundreds of Alien Species

More than 900 new alien species have been encountered in the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in recent decades.

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Division over future of Chagos islands and islanders

Meeting in London addresses environmental issues surrounding the ban on inhabitation of the Indian Ocean archipelago. The central question was how to balance the archipelago’s environmental importance with its original inhabitants’ argued right to go home.

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Hong Kong bans trawling to save fish stocks and marine environment

A decision welcomed by conservationists, as a crucial move to save fish stocks and revive the city’s depleted marine environment.

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Environmental controls of giant kelp in the Santa Barbara Channel, California

Forests of giant kelp are located in temperate coastal regions throughout the world. They are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, and giant kelp itself provides food and habitat for numerous ecologically and economically important near-shore marine species.

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