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

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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Coastal Mangrove Squeeze in the Mekong Delta

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

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

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

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

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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Recent / Mangrove and Coral Destruction

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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UN Sends Team to Clean Up Sunderbans Oil Spill in Bangladesh

December 18th, 2014

The United Nations said on Thursday it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world’s largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.

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Acidic Oceans Could Quiet Coral Reefs

December 18th, 2014

Scientists have been monitoring underwater sounds for decades, in part because sound propagates so efficiently underwater. But in the past 10 years, scientists have started exploring how sonic cues influence fish behavior and give a snapshot of reef health and biodiversity.

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Oil Spill in Bangladesh’s Unique Mangrove Forest

December 17th, 2014

On December 12, three days after a cargo vessel collided with a tanker, oil coats mangrove trees in the Sundarbans, a delta that forms the world’s largest contiguous tidal mangrove forest—a haven for a spectacular diversity of animals. More than 90,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the rivers and creeks of the region.

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Women on the Edge of Land and Life

November 26th, 2014

November is the cruelest month for landless families in the Indian Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal mangrove forest in the world lying primarily in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

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A Luxury Resort Threatens Belize’s Mesoamerican Reef

November 21st, 2014

Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the home of the world-famous Great Blue Hole, a massive underwater sinkhole and World Heritage Site. But two of the islands that make up this special place could soon be dredged and paved to make way for race cars, golfers, and a tarmac.

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