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

Champion of the Mangroves, Union Island, the Grenadines

On Union Island, Ann Harvey’s story of the mangroves demonstrates the protective power of nature and green infrastructure, while a recent UN report showed that valuable mangrove forests worldwide, are being wrecked by the shrimp and fish farms.

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Race Is On to Save Sweden’s Only Coral Reef

Despite the frosty scenes its name evokes, Sweden has a coral reef. In fact, it formerly had three, and the last one remaining is in danger of dying out.

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Half Of The Great Barrier Of Reef Lost In 3 Decades

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is a glittering gem, the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, chock-full of diverse marine life. But new research shows it is also in steep decline, with half of the reef vanishing in the past 27 years.

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Great Barrier Reef Is Heating Up

The waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are getting warmer, satellite measurements show, which spells bad news for the myriad creatures that dwell in this rain forest of the ocean.

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Limiting Global Warming To 2 °C Is Unlikely To Save Most Coral Reefs

Coral reefs face severe challenges even if global warming is restricted to the 2 degrees Celsius commonly perceived as safe for many natural and human-made systems.

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Coral Reef Thriving in Sediment-Laden Waters

A new study has established that Middle Reef, part of Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef, has grown more rapidly than many other reefs in areas with lower levels of sediment stress.

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World’s Northernmost Coral Reef Discovered in Japan

When most of us think of coral reefs, probably do we picture scuba divers gliding through warm, crystal-clear waters. And for the most part, we’d be right: more than 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs are located in the tropics.

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Mangroves: A Filter for Heavy Metals

A mangrove is a forest consisting of various species of mangrove trees growing with their bases submerged in water, at the interface between land and sea. They cover more than three quarters of tropical coastlines, that is to say almost 200,000km². In New Caledonia, they accounts for almost 80% of the island’s western coastline.

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Coral Reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean Naturally Tougher Than Caribbean Reefs

Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts, leading marine scientists have said.

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Recent / Mangrove and Coral Destruction

Mangrove: The Root Of The Matter

November 30th, 2011

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami disaster that struck Indonesia, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey explored how these unique trees hemming the shorelines, which make up valuable forest ecosystems called mangroves, help safeguard lives, property and beaches during hurricanes, tsunamis and floods.

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Mining to blame for islands to sink beneath waves

November 22nd, 2011

Two small islands in South Asia’s first marine biosphere reserve, in the Gulf of Mannar, between India and Sri Lanka, did sink into the sea primarily as a result of coral reef mining, experts said. The corals were mined for use as a binding material in the construction industry, as they were rich in calcium carbonate.

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Mangrove Reforestation In Belize

November 12th, 2011

CORAL’s (Coral Reef Alliance) mangrove reforestation project in San Pedro, Belize is thriving. Recent monitoring reports reveal that ninety percent of the mangroves planted by the local community have survived.

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Rowley Shoals, Timor Sea

November 11th, 2011

Located off the northwestern Australia coastline, the coral reef atolls known as Rowley Shoals, is of impressive biodiversity with 233 coral species and 688 fish species.

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Coastal Vegetation Could Blunt Tsunami’s Deadly Impact

November 8th, 2011

A study estimates that the death toll of the devastating 2004 tsunami along Indonesia’s West Aceh coast would have been smaller had there been enough coastal vegetation to dull the blow and shield the coastal settlements from the shoreline.

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Hawaii’s coral reef ecosystems worth $33.57 billion per year

October 22nd, 2011

A peer-reviewed study commissioned by NOAA shows the American people assign an estimated total economic value of $33.57 billion for the coral reefs of the main Hawaiian Islands.

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Study Uncovers a Predictable Sequence Toward Coral Reef Collapse

September 28th, 2011

Using data from coral reef systems across the western Indian Ocean, researchers identified how overfishing creates a series of at least eight big changes on reefs that precipitate a final collapse. This information can help assessing the health of a reef and tell when to restrict fishing in order to avoid a collapse of the ecosystem and fishery.

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Fears in Miami That Port Expansion Will Destroy Reefs

September 6th, 2011

As Miami prepares to dredge its port to accommodate supersize freighters, environmentalists are making a last-ditch effort to protect threatened coral reefs and acres of sea grass that they say would be destroyed by the expansion.

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Haitian Divers Hope to Aid Ailing Reef

September 3rd, 2011

Environmental degradation is rife in Haiti, deforestation, erosion, pollution, and for the most part it is hard to miss. But for decades the country’s marine environment has suffered unseen. Its extensive coral reef system, an attraction to foreign scuba divers in the 1970s and ’80s, has largely died off, partly from sedimentation and climate change, but mostly from overfishing.

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Worldwide Map Identifies Important Coral Reefs Exposed to Stress

August 12th, 2011

The world’s coral reefs face a multitude of threats, from rising ocean temperatures to overfishing. A new map aimed at aiding coral conservation has been developed that points out the reefs that are most and least at risk.

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