Thursday, April 21, 2011

Healthy Reefs Provide Goods and Services

A large new study from PLoS Biology has concluded that healthy reefs full of fish are good for humanity but humanity is not good for them.

Healthy reefs mean healthy fish and healthy oceans. Healthy oceans provide measurable, valuable goods and services. But the proximity of people, and their homes, hotels, boats, runoff, and many other things deemed civilization are hurting reefs. This was documented by 55 scientists from 49 nations.

One reason why ocean advocates are constantly striving for sustainable coastal development. Unfortunately, it feels like a losing battle.

Here's the scientific way to say it:

In a large collaborative analysis publishing tomorrow in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology, 55 scientists from 49 nations document that the capability of reef fish systems to produce biomass and deliver goods and services to humanity, is functionally linked to the number of species; functioning increases as biodiversity increases. However, mounting pressures from growing human populations is tampering with this functioning of the reef fish communities, especially in the most diverse reefs. The extent of this distress was shown to be widespread and likely to worsen as some 75% of the world’s coral reefs are near human settlements and because most countries with coral reefs are expected to double their human populations within the next 50 to 100 years.

Read about the study here.

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