Category Archives: Mangrove and Coral Destruction

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching hits “extreme level”

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Coral bleaching, a phenomenon that can result in the widespread die-off of coral life, is a serious problem facing the world’s oceans, and according to a new aerial survey of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, 95 percent of the reef’s northern section is now bleached, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports…

Read Full Article, CBS News

Scientists: Major Coral Bleaching Crisis Spreads Worldwide, AP / US News & World Report (10-08-2015)
The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse…

El Niño prolongs longest global coral bleaching event, NOAA (02-24-2016)
Global warming and the current intense El Niño are prolonging the longest global coral die-off on record, according to NOAA scientists…

Desert mangroves are major source of carbon storage, study shows

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Short, stunted mangroves living along the coastal desert of Baja California store up to five times more carbon below ground than their lush, tropical counterparts, researchers have found. The new study estimates that coastal desert mangroves, which only account for 1 percent of the land area, store nearly 30 percent of the region’s belowground carbon…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Sinking a Mexican Navy Warship: A GoPro Awards Video

WATCH: A video captured and submitted by GoPro Awards recipient, JP Ussel


The Uribe 121, a former Mexican Navy battleship, was sunk 1.2 miles off the coast of Rosario, Mexico, to create the first artificial reef in Baja California…

Watch Video, GoPro Channel

Turning Oil Rigs Into Reefs: A Video; The New York Times (03-08-2016)
Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem…

Shipwrecks Posing Threat to Waters Hold Many Unknowns, Miami Herald (11-02-2015)
Dozens of shipwrecks scattered along America’s coasts are thought to be holding oil and certainly will start leaking someday as corrosion eats away at their tanks…

NOAA Report Examines National Oil Pollution Threat From Shipwrecks, NOAA (05-23-2013)
NOAA presented to the U.S. Coast Guard a new report that finds that 36 sunken vessels scattered across the U.S. seafloor could pose an oil pollution threat to the nation’s coastal marine resources…

An Ancient Beach With Modern Subway Cars- 16 Fathoms Down To Take This Train; By Art Trembanis, Nicole Raineault & Carter DuVal
It used to require a ticket to ride the Redbird line of subway cars but now you’ll need a set of SCUBA gear to ride these trains. Over 900 New York City subway cars sit on the seafloor, just 16.5 nautical miles (19 mi) from the Delaware shore.These subway cars are part of an artificial reef, known as the Redbird reef (after the line of subway car) that have been placed on the seafloor since 2001…

France and Florida Hit Reverse on Sinking Tyres for Artificial Reefs, AFP / Phys Org (05-22-2015)

Grenada, Museo Subacuatico Del Arte, off the coast of Cancún; By Jason deCaires Taylor (08-01-2013)
Environmentally inspired artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, created a hauntingly beautiful underwater museum with his life-like statues providing habitat for marine life, coral re-growth and mystery for divers to explore. His sculptures, are installed in the underwater museum, MUSA (Museo Subacuatico Del Arte) off the coast of Cancún…

Organic shrimp farmers protect mangrove forests

Mangrove. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


After three years of implementation of the Mangroves and Markets Project (MAM), shrimp farmers have become more aware of organic production techniques and the need to preserve mangrove forests in their areas…

Read Full Article, Viêt Nam News

Preserving Mangroves Provides Protection and Food Security, IPS News (11-16-2015)

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Root of the Matter: Mangrove as Lives Saver When Natural Disaster Strikes, NASA’s Earth Science News Team (10-28-2010)

The World Must Invest In Mangroves, The Ecologist (04-11-2014)

Mangrove Forests as Incredible Carbon Stores, The Nature Conservancy

Stop Mangrove Destruction In Indonesia To Slow Climate Change, The Ecologist (08-13-2015)
The loss of Indonesia’s coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win…

The Coming Green Wave: Ocean Farming to Fight Climate Change, The Atlantic (11-23-2011)
Ocean farming is not a modern innovation. Unfortunately, modeled on land-based factory livestock farms, aquaculture operations are infamous for their low-quality, tasteless fish pumped full of antibiotics and polluting local waterways. But a small group of ocean farmers and scientists decided to chart a different course. Rather than relying on mono-aquaculture operations, these new ocean farms are pioneering muti-tropic and sea-vegetable aquaculture, whereby ocean farmers grow abundant, high-quality seafood while improving, rather than damaging, the environment…

The Next Food Revolution: Fish Farming? CSM / Yahoo News (10-25-2015)

Farmed Fish Consumption At Record High, UN Report Reveals; Guardian UK (05-19-2014)
Humans have never eaten so much fish and other seafood, but nearly half of it is no longer caught wild but is grown in farms, says the United Nations. The rapid growth in the number of people living near coasts and fish farming’s ability to keep up with population growth has seen per capita fish consumption soar from 10kg per person in the 1960s to more than 19kg in 2012…

Seaweed Can Help Feed the World. But will We Eat It? The Tico Times (11-03-2015)

Thousands to march against coal plant threat to mangrove

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Thousands of Bangladeshis will march from Dhaka to the world’s biggest mangrove forest next week in protest at plans to build two coal-power plants on the edge of the World Heritage-listed forest…

Read Full Article, Gulf Times

How Not to Love Nature: Shove a Coal Plant Next to Earth’s Biggest Mangrove Forest, World Time (10-06-2013)
Tigers have long provided the best defense for Bangladesh’s Sundarbans National Park, the planet’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage site. These days, however, environmentalists are alarmed by a more insidious threat to the park’s future: a massive 1,320-MW coal-fired power plant that’s due to be constructed just 14 km away, in the city of Rampal…

Cancún’s mangroves destroyed, but hope grows again

Photo source: Carlos Matus for Greenpeace

By Miguel Rivas, Greenpeace;

Just a month ago, if you passed by Tajamar in Cancún, Mexico you would have seen 57 hectares of thriving mangrove forest lining the coast. Today, only stumps remain.

For years, hundreds of citizens – including a group of children – worked to protect the Tajamar mangroves, one last swathe of wetlands in tourist-dominated Cancún. But in the middle of the night on 16 January, developers hoping to build a new resort – “Malecón Tajamar” – made their move. Under cover of darkness, they tore down the mangroves.

Local authorities allowed this destruction despite evidence that those promoting the resort had provided highly irregular information – even denying the mangroves were there at all.

Ultimately, the battle between these profit-driven developers and the local community came down to one question: what’s a mangrove worth?

Local government officials and developers touted the number of construction jobs and the income this new resort would produce. But they ignored the mangroves’ social, environmental and economic value – the heart of community protests.

Mangroves are a part of the natural ecosystem in Cancún, home to crocodiles, iguanas, birds, snakes and other species. Losing that biodiversity is devastating, and it’s only part of the story. The economic and social costs of losing the mangroves are staggering as well.

The National Commission for the Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) estimates that mangroves produce about US$37,500 per hectare per year for fisheries; US$6,700 for health services in Mexico (that figure would reach US$200,000 in some cities of the country). And the protection offered by the coast from storms, cyclones and tsunamis is estimated to be about US$3,000 per hectare.

But officials in Mexico and other countries around the world continue to undervalue the services wetlands provide. Over the last few decades, Mexico has lost more than 35 percent of its mangroves due to logging, climate change and coastal development. Meanwhile, flooding is noticeably more frequent in areas that have lost this natural barrier.
Power of community activism

When the local protesters in Cancún first heard the mangroves had been destroyed, their reactions were immediate – to document the destruction that had occurred in secret.

Here are just some of the images they captured…

Later, federal officials attempted to downplay the damage to the mangroves, but because of the quick actions of the public, there was clear evidence of full extent of the damage to the Tajamar mangroves.
Hope grows for Tajamar

The Tajamar mangroves had already been decimated, but the fight is far from over. After their destruction became public knowledge, thousands of people across Mexico stood with the community protesters in outrage. And their voices made a huge impact.

Just this week, in response to a case brought to court by Greenpeace Mexico and ally organisations, a judge ordered a moratorium on all work for the Tajamar project. This is a huge victory for people and the environment over the private interests of a few.

However, the road is long before the project is truly cancelled. The Mexican government now has the opportunity to permanently end the project and begin restoration, or to allow the construction of more buildings whose service to the community could never equal the costs of the mangrove forests they replace.
But if officials choose money over mangroves again, they can be sure to expect more public attention – from local communities, and people around the world.

There is even new hope for the Tajamar. Now that construction is suspended, the mangroves have a chance to recover.

Original Article And Learn More, Greenpeace

Mexican court rules against development in Cancun mangrove, NZ Herald (02-05-2016)
A Mexican court has issued an injunction blocking further work on a real estate project in the Caribbean coast resort of Cancun that activists say has almost killed a mangrove swamp at the site. Heavy machinery largely cleared the mangrove trees from the area known as Nichupte lagoon in January, over the objections of local environmentalists. But environmentalists expressed hope after the order was announced that the mangrove can be recovered now that a court has ruled the project violated the public interest in preserving the wetland…

The Mexican Government Greenlights the Destruction of Mangroves, Vice News (01-20-2016)
Environmental activists are furious at the destruction of 143 acres of mangrove forest in order to build offices, apartments, shopping malls, and a huge church in the luxury resort of Cancún.The controversial project known as “Malecón Tajamar” is being promoted by the Mexican tourist board, known as Fonatur, and involves 23 private companies…

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Mangroves Help Protect Against Sea Level Rise, Science Daily (07-27-2015)

Mangroves matter, Hatch Magazine (02-11-2016)

Crisis Response: When Trees Stop Storms and Deserts in Asia

Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Photo source: ©© MM


A history of deforestation has made Asian nations like Vietnam, China and South Korea especially vulnerable to coastal storms, floods and sandstorms. Yet just as these nations have experienced similar crises, they’re also all pursuing a solution—restoring degraded landscapes…

Read Full Article, WRI

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Greenbelt Reports / TVE Asia Pacific
The Greenbelt Reports (GBR) is a multi-media, Asian regional educational project to document the conservation challenges involving mangroves, coral reefs and sand reefs, collectively called ‘greenbelts’ in recognition of their natural protective role against wave action and anticipated climate change impact.

Rice and palm oil risk to mangroves, BBC News (01-04-2016)
The threat posed by the development of rice and palm oil plantations to mangroves in South-East Asia has been underestimated, a study has suggested…

Coastal Mangrove Squeeze in the Mekong Delta, Journal of Coastal Research (03-16-2015)
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…

The World Must Invest In Mangroves, The Ecologist (04-11-2014)

Saving Fiji’s Coral Reefs Linked to Forest Conservation Upstream, Wildlife Conservation Society
The health of coral reefs offshore depend on the protection of forests near the sea, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society that outlines the importance of terrestrial protected areas to coastal biodiversity.

Haiti’s Unnatural Floods
The nearly complete deforestation of Haiti has caused countless problems for the country, the people, and its biodiversity…

The Sumatran rainforest will mostly disappear within 20 years (05-26-2013)

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…

Coastal Kenyan villages bringing their mangrove forest back to life

A mangrove sprout on the sand, Kenya. Photo source: ©© Ale


A community on Kenya’s east coast is fighting climate change with its own mangrove restoration, conservation and carbon-trading project…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Mangroves Help Protect Against Sea Level Rise, Science Daily (07-27-2015)
Mangrove forests could play a crucial role in protecting coastal areas from sea level rise caused by climate change, according to new research involving the University of Southampton…

Preserving Mangroves Provides Protection and Food Security, IPS News (11-16-2015)

El Niño prolongs longest global coral bleaching event

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Global warming and the current intense El Niño are prolonging the longest global coral die-off on record, according to NOAA scientists, who will will present the latest global bleaching update and outlook Friday, Feb. 26 at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans.

The researchers, who are monitoring and forecasting offsite linkthe loss of corals from disease and heat stress due to record ocean temperatures, report that the global coral bleaching event that started in 2014 could extend well into 2017.

Approximately 500 million people worldwide depend upon reefs for food and to protect coastlines from storms and erosion. Coral reefs provide habitat, spawning and nursery grounds for economically important fish species; provide fishing, recreation, and tourism jobs and income to local economies; are a source of new medicines, and are hotspots of marine biodiversity. Reefs contribute approximately $29.8 billion to world economies each year. In the United States, NOAA Fisheries estimates the commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is more than $100 million.

“We are currently experiencing the longest global coral bleaching event ever observed,” said Mark Eakin, NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch coordinator. “We may be looking at a 2- to 2½-year-long event. Some areas have already seen bleaching two years in a row.”

According to Eakin, the length of the event means corals in some parts of the world have no time to recover before they are hit by more bleaching. The current global bleaching event is hammering some reefs repeatedly.

Scientists first observed the current global coral bleaching event beginning in mid-2014, when bleaching began in the western Pacific Ocean. In October 2015, as the current El Niño was still strengthening, NOAA scientists declared the third global bleaching event on record was underway.

The NOAA coral scientists point out that reefs that bleached in 2015 in the Caribbean and Florida Keys have just started to recover, but may start bleaching all over again as early as July. Eakin also notes that in the Pacific, corals in Fiji’s nearshore waters are bleaching with lots of dead coral for the second consecutive year, and could be worse than last year.

Also, as bleaching events become more frequent, some reefs may not have time to recover. In 1998 in Southeast Asia, severe bleaching was followed by twelve years of recovery that allowed some of the more rapid growing, branching corals to grow back. However, the slower growing corals that build the backbone of reefs did not recover. In 2010, the same area was hit again, killing off newly grown branching corals and many of the surviving massive corals. These reefs may see bleaching again later this year.

“The 2010 Southeast Asia event was only six years ago,” said Eakin. “We’re seeing global bleaching again now. Research shows that the frequency of mass bleaching events is increasing because of global warming. The corals are being hit again and again.”

Coral bleaching happens when corals are stressed by conditions such as high water temperatures. Bleaching occurs when the corals expel the algae that live in their tissues. Without the algae, corals lose a significant source of food and are more vulnerable to disease. In a severe bleaching event, large swaths of reef-building corals die. This causes reefs to erode, destroying fish habitat and exposing previously protected shorelines to the destructive force of ocean waves.

Warmer ocean temperatures caused by El Niño and global warming can lead to coral bleaching. The first widespread mass bleaching occurred during the 1982-83 El Niño. The first global bleaching event occurred in 1998 during a strong El Niño that was followed by a very strong La Niña, which brings warmer waters to places like Palau and Micronesia in the Pacific. A second global bleaching event occurred in 2010, during a less powerful El Niño.

The latest imagery from the 3rd Global Bleaching Event is available here. The New Orleans meeting is co-sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society and the American Geophysical Union.

Original Article And Learn More, NOAA