Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tsunami-damaged coral reefs should be left to recover naturally

13.05.2005


CORAL reefs damaged in the Asian tsunami tragedy should be allowed to recover naturally before countries launch into expensive restoration plans, according to some of the world’s leading scientists.



The scientists, led by a researcher from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and who set out their views in an advisory brief for the World Bank, point to historical records of major coral reef devastation by cyclones and typhoons, which show that reefs recovered without human intervention.

Although the devastation caused by the tsunami was on a much larger scale, the scientists say there is no evidence to suggest that the vast majority of reefs will not recover naturally this time.


They add that Governments should be very careful not to commit funds to costly repair programmes that may have little long-term effect.

About 20 per cent of the coral reefs in places such as Thailand and Sri Lanka were badly affected by the tsunami that happened in December last year. The damage was mainly caused by the backwash – waves returning to the sea that sucked back debris from the shore such as trees, cars, sediment and parts of buildings, which broke and overturned corals.

The group recommend that, in most cases, simply removing the debris from the reefs would be sufficient to allow them to repair themselves. Only in areas where corals were more or less wiped out and no healthy reefs remained nearby to provide a source of new coral larvae, would artificial methods such as coral transplantation be clearly beneficial.

Dr Alasdair Edwards, a researcher and senior lecturer with the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, chairs the World Bank’s Coral Restoration and Remediation Working Group. He said: “Obviously, immediately after the tsunami, the main priorities have been to address the human toll, the health and sustenance of survivors and the rebuilding of livelihoods in all of the affected nations.

“However, long-term reconstruction efforts will need to examine requirements for rebuilding damaged sectors such as fisheries and tourism, and rehabilitating the natural systems on which they depend, such as coral reefs.”

Dr Edwards, of Newcastle University’s School of Biology, added: “There are many quick fixes on offer but scientific evidence suggests that in most cases these would not be a good use of scarce resources and could actually harm surviving reefs. We need to find a long-term, sustainable solution for restoration. "We’re advocating a cleaning up of the debris in the majority of cases, so as to allow natural recovery processes to take place. Coral reefs have been subject to natural disasters for millions of years, and they have survived and adapted over a long time."

Poorly planned reconstruction programmes undertaken on the land can also adversely affect marine wildlife, say the scientists. Professional environmental impact assessments should be carried out in the first instance so that projects can be undertaken with the minimum of impact.

Dr Edwards added: “For example, many developers like to build right on the coastline but they would be better advised to set back their developments a little to minimise the impact on sea life. Communities that are rebuilding hotels should take advantage of reconstruction funds to make sure there is effective sewage treatment available. And if builders are moving lots of earth around, they should do this in the dry season rather than the wet season to avoid sediment being washed into the sea.”

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>