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Coral Reef Need to be protected
Reefs ecosystem is one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet. The Sea rainforests provide environmental and economic benefits to billions of people such as in areas of recreation and natural beauty, sources of jobs, food, chemicals, shoreline protection and pharmaceuticals
Now being under various threats that are overpowering natural resilience, reefs are critically essential in supporting an enormous biological diversity as well as genetic documentation for generations to come. Although coral reefs occupy a small percentage of the sea base, they’re habitat for 27% of the sea life plus thirty -two animal phyla. Ideally, coral reefs are ranked among the highly endangered sea ecosystem (Levins 9). In all the areas reefs are found, they’re purported for being in a major predicament. It has been predicted that by the year 2030, sixty- five percent of the global coral reefs will have been disappeared. However, healthy, intact and well-managed reefs can provide sustainable livelihood, particularly to the coastal people.
Importance of Coral Reefs
Coral reefs and reef ecosystem provides two key benefits: economic services that are less evident as well as economic benefits that are robust and instantaneous. Globally corals have a value of close to $900 billion where they generate net revenue of $35 billion. Studies show that a healthy reef of one square kilometer can feed close to 350 people. The studies also demonstrate that almost 10% of every fish consumed in the whole world comes from the reef (MacPherson, 23). However, managed and well-sustained reefs could become an economic lucrative for both fish trades and marine aquarium. Yearly, dockside ideals of commercial fisheries especially in U.S that rely on reefs exceed $90 million.
Moreover, pharmaceutical sector has discovered hundreds of substances containing anti-coagulant, antimicrobial and anti- inflammatory characteristics in the coral reef species. For instance, AZT is a drug that has been used by doctors in treating human immune virus disease (HIV). The drug is obtained from reef sponges found in the Caribbean. Having potentially nine million coral reefs to be discovered might represent untappable wealth to the biochemical resources. Besides the economic perspective, coral reefs give valuable ecosystem service that is hard to quantify (Levins 11). Well managed and healthy reefs absorb close to 95% contact of wind-produced waves, coastal development, protecting sports, as well as mangroves from erosions and storms. However, replacing such services can be costly. Reef dependent organisms provide essential ecosystem services. For instance, green turtles provide a seagrass bed, ecosystem among themselves of around $4 trillion. From aesthetic dimension, reefs help in maintaining cleanliness of the beaches. Following the outcome of Allen hurricane, a mixture of pollution and diseases in the coastal improvement plus overharvesting of the reefs fish eating algae turned Jamaica’s ecological unit from a collection of pristine corals to a rapid growth in algae population.
Problems Facing Reefs
According to Talbot and Wilkinson (14), most applications of coral reefs have led to severe reef decline due to unsustainability which has been connected to different origins. However, overharvesting of the coral reef species has resulted in uncontrolled tourism activities, oil extraction, diseases as well as habitat destruction through devastating fishing methods. This worsening process poses a significant threat to livelihoods of hundreds of individuals with an impact on income sources. In the Philippines, it has been approximated that reefs damage has resulted to loss of 95, 000 fisherman’s jobs. According to MacPherson (29), anthropogenic effects on reefs could have prolonged consequences on the nearby ecosystems like seagrass beds, mangroves, and Open Ocean.
Coral reefs appear to withstand natural hindrances regularly occurring such as predator attacks and typhoons usually recovering in 20 to 30 years following the impediment. Moreover, these re- establishments do not imply returns to the native coral species composition since the revival of the slow aging organisms could take decades. Chronic and persistent anthropogenic disturbances seem to be highly damaging to the reefs (MacPherson 36). Weak recoveries of the coral reefs ecosystem have been observed especially when affected by natural hindrances when they’ve been exposed to continuous human disruptions
Caribbean reef decline
According to read reports, most of the Caribbean reefs will vanish in the next twenty years unless a serious action is put in place or taken to look after them mainly because of grazers decline such as parrotfish and sea urchins (Talbot F and Wilkinson 16).
A detailed analysis by more than 70 professionals of over 30,000 surveys carried at a hundred Caribbean locations showed that the areas corals have dropped by a great percentage. According to research from Global Reefs Network and UNEP, restoring primary fish numbers as well as improving security from pollution and overfishing can aid in reefs recovery plus make them resilient to climate change. While ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and climate change pose a great danger to the region, local pressures like overfishing, population and tourism pose the biggest harm. However, these factors have led to the loss of sea urchins and the parrotfish, the primary sea grazers which are the major driving force of reefs decrease in the area.
Levins (12), holds that grazers are essential in the sea system since they feed on algae that smoothen corals. In 1983, an unknown infection led to deaths of sea urchins. Also, overfishing right through the entire 20th century has resulted in the decline on parrotfish demographic in some areas.
Areas, where sea urchins are not safeguarded have suffered great decline inclusive of Jamaica, Virgin Islands and the whole of Florida reef. Similarly, the study suggests that the strongest Caribbean coral reefs are the ones providing habitat to large numbers of parrotfish. They are Bonaire, Bermuda, and the Flower Garden marine sanctuary in Mexico.
The Caribbean provides habitat to ten percent of the global reefs. However, only 1/6th of the native corals cover remains. Such reefs that span 40 nations are vital to the area’s economy. It also supports over 40 million citizens generating over $3billion annually from fisheries and tourism.
Combating reef decline
To face reefs decline, multiple studies stress the need for fish population, reefs condition monitoring, and baseline assessment. This will give precise information for establishment of conservation policies, efficient marine reserves, and improvement or creation of board plans (Talbot and Wilkinson 21). Without proper monitoring of data, it’s hard to know the impact of natural or human influences on the sea environment along with how one can respond promptly.
Such data is useful in describing the coastal communities’ conditions of their background and to show the reason for their contribution in administrative policies. This is appropriate to the Philippines since it consists of over 7000 islands, majority of them with extensive reefs that are well recognized to be under pressure and pain from poor administration and destruction
Multiple Meta-analysis and studies give proof of the positive result of sea reserve on diverse organisms. For instance, MacPherson (40) surveyed fish population changes in Bilang-Bilangan marine reserve as well as control sites for more than seven years. They discovered that that mean densities varied from 6 (±4 sd) fish in a 250 square meter at control sites to 37 (±40 sd) fish in a 250 square meter within the reserve. Also, they showed that the effects were apparent on corals indicator species and high tropic level fish. They also illustrated that major benefits seemed more dependent on high-quality levels of compliance and enforcement, stressing the need of the fishing ban enforcements.
Moreover, in the meta-analysis consisting twelve studies in the whole world showed that fish were 4.2 times richer inside the reserves than to non-reserve regions (Levins 13). They report also showed that the result was mainly because of increased organisms or else focused by the fisheries and realized a substantial heterogeneity within the species.
The social, environmental, and economic importance of reefs is duly acknowledged and hard to deny. Sadly they face critical threats mainly because of human activities. Their tremendous decline shows the urgent desire for further protection and more attention. Studies have revealed that sea reserves having enforcement policies and proper management contain positive results on coral reefs health and fish populations. Also, they’re shown that participation of the locals is an essential factor for protection strategies and growth of marine reserves. In our hands, we have the elements and tools for implementing adequate protection, which is dependent on everyone to place needed effort as well as commitment.
Levins, Nicole. “Coral Reefs: Nature’s Medicine Cabinet.”The Nature Conservancy. The Natural Conservancy, 18 Feb 2011. Web. 01 Apr 2012.
MacPherson, Rick. “Coral Reefs Need You.”Ocean Portal.National Museum of Natural History,13 Oct2010.Web. 25 Mar 2012.
Talbot F., and Wilkinson, C., 2001, Coral Reefs, Mangroves and Seagrasses: A Sourcebook for Managers. 29 Mar 2012. Print.
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