Global change and the decline of coral reefs

Article, Other literature type English OPEN
Strasser, A. (1999)
  • Publisher: Copernicus Publications
  • Journal: (issn: 2194-8798, eissn: 2194-8798)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.5194/gh-54-125-1999
  • Subject: GA101-1776 | GF1-900 | Human ecology. Anthropogeography | Geography (General) | Cartography | G1-922

Ever since coral reefs exist, changing environmental conditions have periodically led to their decline. However, within the perspective of geological time-spans, corals have always managed to re-install themselves. Today, human activity has enhanced stress factors and added new ones that cause a rapid and (on the human time-scale) irreversible decline of many reef ecosystems. The reasons for the disturbance of these complex communities are multiple, but global warming is a key factor. As a result, coral reefs lose their vital role of protecting coastal areas from flooding and storm impact and of creating habitats for numerous marine organisms. In this short article, natural and anthropogenically induced stress factors are discussed, and measures for mitigating or stopping coral-reef decline are proposed.
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