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

Detecting Detrimental Change in Coral Reefs

Over dinner on R.V. Calypso while anchored on the lee side of Glover’s Reef in Belize, Jacques Cousteau told Phil Dustan that he suspected humans were having a negative impact on coral reefs. Dustan, a young ocean ecologist who had worked in the lush coral reefs of the Caribbean and Sinai Peninsula, found this difficult to believe. It was December 1974… and Cousteau was right.

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Mangrove: The Root Of The Matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Recent / Mangrove and Coral Destruction

Drawing up a Global “Red List” of Vanishing Ecosystems

January 8th, 2011

Now scientists are figuring out how to catalog and map the world’s most threatened ecosystems, such as mangrove, just like their familiar list of endangered species.

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Some Coral Reefs Less Vulnerable to Rising Sea Temperatures

December 10th, 2010

The findings hold promise for an estimated 100 million people living along the coasts of tropical developing countries whose livelihoods and welfare depend directly on coral reefs.

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Scientists Call for Protection and Better Management for Australian Reefs

November 24th, 2010

The eastern subtropical coastline, and increasingly the west too, are among Australia’s fastest-growing regions, throwing surging human pressures on ecosystems.

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The Last of The Sea Nomads

November 20th, 2010

For generations they have lived on the ocean, diving and fishing, and rarely setting foot on land. But now the marine nomads risk destroying the reefs that sustain them. It’s a common story throughout the Coral Triangle.

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Caribbean Reef Ecosystems May Not Survive Repeated Stress

November 16th, 2010

Coral reefs suffered now record losses as a consequence of high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean in 2005, according to the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date.

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Rare Cold Water Coral Discovered off the Coast of Mauritania

November 13th, 2010

A rare cold water coral reef has been discovered off the coast of Mauritania in Northern Africa, the first time such a reef has been found this far south.

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Third Nuclear Power Plant Discharge Destroying Kenting’s Reefs

November 12th, 2010

Thermal discharge from the Third Nuclear Power Plant is behind the rapid destruction of Kenting National Park’s coral reef, Taiwan.

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The Silent Evolution: A Coral Reef Sculpture

November 12th, 2010

Artist Jason deCaires Taylor recently completed work on one of the most surreal and awe-inspiring artificial reefs in Cancun/Isla Mujeres, Mexico, in an effort to promote the recovery of nearby natural reefs.

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Scientists find damage to coral near BP well

November 6th, 2010

For the government, the findings were a departure from earlier statements.

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Root of the Matter: Mangrove as Lives Saver When Natural Disaster Strikes

October 28th, 2010

Countless people clung to life in the branches of mangrove trees hemming the shorelines during the deadly 2004 tsunami that killed more than 230,000 coastal residents in Indonesia, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

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