Geography Desertification of Coral Reefs Essay

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Yet, there have been transplant successes in sheltered embayments. One of the major conclusions that have been seen is that the cost of reef repair and coral transplantation is generally high but effectiveness is usually very low. Protection and conservation, rather than restoration of damaged reefs, is the preferred priority. However, there have been a number of successful mitigation efforts in Hawaii (Jokiel, ).

Disorder is a natural structuring force in both terrestrial and aquatic communities, with disturbed patches undergoing cycles of removal and recovery leading to spatial heterogeneity. Whether uproar is acute or chronic has significant implications for the disturbed ecosystem's time frame for recovery, with lower chances for recovery after chronic, long-term disturbances or after a phase shift from one major community to another like from coral-dominated to algal-dominated reefs. Hard corals mainly Scleractinia form the biological and structural foundations of coral reef ecosystems, and can recover rapidly if communities are adapted to high disturbance regimes or if stable and complex substrate remains to facilitate recruitment. Nonetheless, blast fishing is an anthropogenic disturbance that physically alters the reef structure. The explosion of homemade bombs not only kills fish but also shatters the coral skeletons, and creates expanses of unstable coral rubble that reduces survival of coral recruits. In addition, the removal of the targeted herbivorous fish is likely to reduce the resilience of the reefs to climate change and other impacts, further hampering recovery. Blast fishing is widespread even though it is illegal, and a major threat to reefs with destructive fishing estimated to threaten over 50% of reefs in Southeast Asia. Coral remains that are not killed by the blast directly may experience further post-disturbance mortality in the shifting rubble (Fox and Caldwell, 2006).

Although recovery from blasting has been modeled and levels of biological or economic impact have been assessed, field studies of recovery from blast fishing are rare. It has been reported that there is a remote area in Indonesia where fishing with homemade bombs still occurs. In early April 1999 it was observed that two bomb fishermen using a kerosene-fertilizer mix in 300-mL glass soda bottles with homemade fuses were carrying out this practice. The fishermen gathered several kilograms of the targeted reef fish per blast. Hours after the blasts, the reef was surveyed using SCUBA. The approximate center of each of the resulting six craters was marked and measured the size of damaged areas. Researchers have returned to these sites repeatedly over the following five years to measure the dynamics of coral recovery (Fox and Caldwell, 2006).

It is progressively clearer that the rapid decline of reef systems calls for a suite of more vigorous, innovative and adaptive management strategies. Responding to the global coral reef crisis requires active management of human activities that modify essential ecological processes. In particular, it requires an ability to scale up management and governance of systems to secure the future of functional groups and their roles in supporting the resilience of coral reefs. There is an increasing awareness of what has already been lost, and also recognition that in a changing world, the resilience of coral reefs is increasingly uncertain (Bellwood, Hughes, Folke and Nystrom, 2004).

There appear to be four recommendations for managing human activities in coral reef ecosystems. The first is that the size and rate of establishment of no take areas (NTA's) needs to be increased. These can be used as a tool for resilience management. Second the focus on NTA's and hotspots must not be allowed to detract from the provision of improved management measures for the vast majority of the reefs that are heavily affected by people. Third, reef management needs to be more inclusive, proactive and responsive. Fourth, the markets for reef resources must be changed to incorporate economic incentives that prevent exploitation of different species (Bellwood, Hughes, Folke and Nystrom, 2004).


It is very clear that coral reefs around the world are in great danger. It is thought that the reasons for the coral decline include a combination of direct anthropogenic factors, such as overfishing, pollution, and sedimentation as well as climate change and natural disturbances. It is the man made factors that are creating disturbances that end up causing the most damage. These are also the disturbances that are the hardest for the reefs to recover from. Even though natural disturbances cause a lot of issues the reefs tend to recover better from these. All in all no matter what is causing the disturbances the effects are great and need to be addressed.

Since the natural disturbances are beyond anyone's real control, the solutions to the issues must focus on the ones that can be controlled. This would include the man made disturbances. If these disturbances are all identified and solutions to them put into place there would be a lot less injury that occurs. There has been several management solutions that have been proposed and tried but the effects of whether these are really working has yet to be seen. There has not been enough research done in order to verify that those measures that are being tried are truly working or not.

Since the coral reefs are always changing, with some changes coming from nature and others coming from people, the concept of coral reef management is one that is ever changing. Management solutions need to continue to be developed and tried and then measured to see if there is any improvement. But this process will never be considered done. It will always be a work in progress as nature and man continue to take a toll on the coral reefs and their ecosystems.


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Gardner, Toby a., Cote, Isabelle M., Gill, Jennifer a., Grant, Alastair and Watkinson, Andrew R. (2005).

Hurricanes and Caribbean Coral Reefs: Impacts, Recovery Patterns, and Role in Long-Term

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