Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Land development and pollution
Extensive and poorly managed land development can threaten the survival of coral reefs. Within the last 20 years, once prolific mangrove forests, which absorb massive amounts of nutrients and sediments from runoff caused by farming and construction of roads, buildings, ports, channels, and harbors, are being destroyed. Nutrient-rich water causes fleshy algae and phytoplankton to thrive in coastal areas in suffocating amounts known as algal bloom. Coral reefs are biological assemblages adapted to waters with low nutrient content, and the addition of nutrients favors species that disrupt the balance of the reef communities. Both the loss of wetlands and mangrove habitats are considered to be significant factors affecting water quality on inshore reefs.