Saturday, January 14, 2012

Complete Information on Conservation of Coral Reefs by Jayaprakash Kakada

Coral reefs are diverse and vulnerable ecosystem characterized by a complex inter-dependence of plants and animals.

They are massive limestone structures built up through the constructional cementing process and depositional activities of the animals of the class Anthozoa as well as other calcium carbonate secreting animals.

Coral reefs are the centers of high biological productivity, sites of carbon dioxide sink and sources of huge deposits of calcium carbonate. They provide many natural raw materials of pharmacological importance including life saving drugs.

In the Indian sub continent, the reefs are distributed along the East and West coasts at restricted places. Fringing reefs are found in the Gulf of manner and Palk Bay as well as the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Platform reefs are seen along the Gulf of Kutch and Atoll reefs are found in the Lakshadweep Archipelago.

Increasing human population and anthropogenic pressure has severely affected coral distribution and biodiversity. Natural calamities cause considerable damage to the coral reef structure through direct and indirect means. Global warming leads to adverse impact on the survival of the coral reefs.

The bleaching phenomenon of 1998 in the Indian Ocean is reported to have caused considerable damage to the coral reef in the Indian coast. Further, some factors causing damage to coral reefs include industrial settlements, over exploitation of fish resources, pollution, dredging of coral sands for cement industry, causing considerable loss of flora and fauna, deforestation and reclamation of wetlands and mangrove areas. Hence, we need proper planning to protect and conserve our coral reefs. The regional planning to conserve coral reefs in India requires the following strategies:

(i) A proper environmental planning unit should monitor the status and exploitation level of coral reefs in different coastal areas of India.

(ii) Mangroves committee should monitor the activities of over commercial exploitation of coral reefs.

(iii) People should be prohibited to enter coral reef areas in the coastal ecosystem.

(iv) Periodic survey on biodiversity status of coral reefs in different coastal ecosystem must be undertaken.

Efforts should be made to forestall or avert the accumulation of pollutants around the area of coral reefs.

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