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Mangrove conversion takes huge environmental toll

New policy brief outlines benefits of mangrove conservation

A tidal mangrove forest in Belize. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Conversion of mangrove forests is taking a huge toll on coastal ecosystems, an international team of researchers said, warning that replacing tidal forest with shrimp farms and other forms of development is a bad economic tradeoff both short and long-term.

“The benefits of this industry have too often been short lived due to poor planning with ponds being abandoned when pollution or disease take hold, leaving unproductive saline pools and depleted coastal fisheries,” said Hanneke Van Lavieren, a United Nations University scientist who was the lead author of the recent policy brief. Continue reading

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Environment: Persian Gulf under the gun from development

Rapid development around the Persian Gulf coastline is leading to environmental degradation. SATELLITE IMAGE COURTESY NASA.

Coral reefs, fish nurseries at risk in the region

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —A headlong development rush along the coast of Middle Eastern countries is leading to”severe loss and degradation of important habitats, including mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs, in the Persian Gulf, according to a study released last week.

The report from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health warns of potential health problems and “the permanent loss of nursery grounds for commercial shellfish and fish species,” in the fragile marine ecosystems shared by eight Gulf countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Coastal development in wealthy Gulf countries has been so extensive and swift that “there has not been enough time to develop adequate regulatory, technical, and monitoring capacity to guide this growth appropriately.” Continue reading

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