Mangrove & Coral Destruction

Miles of mangrove trees Miles of mangrove trees have died in recent years along the coast of Angola due to a combination of environmental factors, including oil spills. Photo: Joe Hughes

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.


Surfing in / Mangrove and Coral Destruction

Coral Bleaching Threat Increasing in Western Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

As unusually warm ocean temperatures cover the north Pacific, equatorial Pacific, and western Atlantic oceans, NOAA scientists expect greater bleaching of corals on Northern Hemisphere reefs through October, potentially leading to the death of corals over a wide area and affecting the long-term supply of fish and shellfish.

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Unesco Spares Great Barrier Reef In-Danger Listing But Issues Warning

The UN has ruled against listing the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”, congratulating Australia on its conservation plan but giving it five years to halt deterioration of the natural icon.

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Diverse Corals Persist, But Bioerosion Escalates in Palau’s Low-pH Waters

As the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels, its chemistry is changing.

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Boracay Experiencing Beach Erosion, 70% Coral Loss; Philippines

According to a study conducted by Japanese and Filipino scientists, coral cover in Boracay Island declined by about 70.5 percent from 1988 to 2011, and the highest decrease in the 23-year period, was recorded between 2008 and 2011, as tourist arrivals rose by 38.4 percent…

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Great Barrier Reef: UNESCO Recommends World Heritage Site Not be Placed on ‘In Danger’ List

World’s largest coral reef to remain on UN’s watchlist as draft ruling calls on Australia to ‘rigorously’ implement its conservation commitments. Environmental groups consider the reef – regardless of the Unesco ruling in June – technically in danger.

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Sri Lanka to become the first nation in the world to protect all its mangroves

More than half the world’s mangroves have been lost over the last century but all of those surviving in Sri Lanka, one of their most important havens, are now to be protected in an unprecedented operation.

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After Oil Spill, Unique Mangrove Forest Faces More Threats

On December 9, 2014, a wrecked tanker released approximately 94,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the Shela River, which runs through the Sundarbans. Now another shipping disaster is unfolding, as a capsized cargo vessel, Jabalenoor, leaks 200 tonnes of potash fertilizer into the Sundarbans’ Bhola River, southeast of the earlier oil spill.

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Ocean-scale Dataset Allows Broad View of Human Influence on Pacific Coral Reef

A study draws on data from nearly 40 islands and atolls across the central and western Pacific, including 25 unpopulated islands, to investigate the relative influence of environmental variation and human presence on reef fish assemblages. The resulting message is sobering.

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Communities Leading the Way to Save Madagascar’s Mangroves

A recent study carried out by the University of Antananarivo and Blue Ventures found that between 1990 and 2010, Ambanja and Ambaro Bays lost approximately 20 percent of their mangroves. In northwest Madagascar, charcoal production for urban markets is the biggest driver of this loss.

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Recent / Mangrove and Coral Destruction

Coastal Mangrove Squeeze in the Mekong Delta

March 16th, 2015

The role of mangrove forests in providing coastal zone stability and protection against flooding is increasingly recognized. The specific root, stem, and canopy system of mangroves is highly efficient in attenuating waves and currents. The sheltered environment created by a healthy mangrove forest offers great sedimentation potential.

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Despite Protections, Miami Port Project Smothers Coral Reef in Silt

March 8th, 2015

The government divers who plunged into the bay near the Port of Miami surfaced with bad news again and again: Large numbers of corals were either dead or dying, suffocated by sediment. The source of the sediment, environmentalists say, is a $205 million dredging project…

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Along Cuba’s Coast, The Last Best Coral Reef in the Caribbean Thrives

March 4th, 2015

While coral reef cover has declined by 50 percent throughout the Caribbean, Cuba has managed to retain some of the most pristine coral reef environments on earth. Lack of coastal development, limited tourism, small amounts of runoff flowing into the sea, tight controls on commercial fishing, and the establishment of extensive marine protected areas have all combined to give Cuba the most remarkable coral reef environments in the Caribbean.

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Artificial Reef Enhancement Underway, North Carolina

February 26th, 2015

Over the next couple months, more than 2 million tons of concrete material will be dropped over local artificial reefs, providing habitat for ocean life on barren stretches of the sea floor.

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Warm Ocean Temperatures May Mean Major Coral Bleaching

February 18th, 2015

NOAA scientists are warning that warm ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans could set the stage for major coral bleaching events across the globe in 2015.

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Great Barrier Reef: Warmer Waters Helping Coral-Eating Starfish Thrive

February 15th, 2015

The survival chances of crown-of-thorns starfish increase by as much as 240% if sea-surface temperatures rise 2C, say Australian researchers.

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To Save Coral Reefs, First Save the Mangroves

February 10th, 2015

With coral reefs in decline and NOAA calling for a larger protected area for reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are pointing out another strategy to save reefs: First save the mangroves.

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Study Projects Unprecedented Loss of Corals in Great Barrier Reef Due to Warming

January 22nd, 2015

The coverage of living corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.

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Hidden Battles on the Reefs

January 13th, 2015

How do you drown a coral reef? The very idea seems unfathomable for animals that spend their entire lives under water. But the deep ocean is actually riddled with “drowned” coral reefs, the remains of ancient reefs that slipped into the dark ocean depths and starved without sunlight.

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Coral Reefs Threatened by Changing Ocean Conditions

January 10th, 2015

Erosion rates increase tenfold in areas where corals are also exposed to high levels of nutrients, according to a study published January 2015 in the journal Geology. As sea level rises, these reefs may have a harder time growing toward the ocean surface, where they get sunlight they need to survive.

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