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 Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>