Mangrove & Coral Destruction
Widespread destruction of mangroves (Bahamas, Australia) and Coral Reefs (Caribbean, Red Sea) has resulted in the loss of some of the worlds most diverse ecosystems. As a side effect, this has greatly increased shoreline hazards and beach erosion rates. The greatest benefit of mangroves is their ability to reduce storm surge. This benefit is long-term and requires no maintenance. The 1999 super typhoon, Orissa, killed over 10,000 people in India drowning many with its powerful storm surge. This number could have been lower if the mangroves had been retained. Mangroves are lost because of clearing for development, logging, and shrimp farming. Coral reefs are lost by mining (Bali, Indonesia), sedimentation from agriculture on the upland (St. Croix, Virgin Islands), bad fishing techniques that kill corals (Pacific Islands), sedimentation from nourished beaches (Waikiki) and a host of other natural and global warming-related causes. Dubai is perhaps the single greatest example of coral reef destruction. The artificial islands built there buried vast coral reefs. Mangroves and coral reefs often provide protection for nearby beaches. Their destruction harms the beach as well.
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Thanks to a mangrove planting project, villagers have managed to protect their areas, where seawater had been regularly spilling over the farms destroying their crops, and conserve the environment by involving members of the public in planting mangroves.
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Climate change and El Niño have caused the worst mangrove die-off in recorded history, stretching along 700km of Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria. And last week it was revealed warm ocean temperatures had wiped out 100km of important kelp forests off the coast of Western Australia.
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Researchers discovered that mangrove forests can buffer ocean acidification because they are known to increase the alkalinity of the waters surrounding these ecosystems. The alkaline solutions can counter acidification
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The mangroves of Qeshm Island, are uniquely adapted to their brutal surroundings, which are characterized by searing heat, little rainfall, and high salinity.
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Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest. Using photographs and new data, a Guardian special report investigates how the reef has been devastated – and what can be done to save it.
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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system on Earth, with more than 3,000 separate reefs and coral cays. It is also one of the most complex natural ecosystems, with 600 types of corals and thousands of animal species from tiny planktons to whales.
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There have been large scale diebacks of mangrove trees in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Scientists are not exactly sure what happened up there in the most remote areas of Queensland, but they know the damage is extensive and unprecedented.
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Experts have been focusing on hundreds of kilometres of mangroves along the coast in Queensland, that have turned a ghostly white. Serious concerns about the situation, which is compared to coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef, which is the result of warmer ocean temperatures, are raised.
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An international research team has studied the geographical pattern of the evolution of corals and reef fish. Their findings show that today’s geographical distribution of tropical marine diversity is the result of 100 million years of Earth history and the continental drifts that shifted the position of shallow reef habitats.
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