The effect of tourism on coral reefs

Fact sheet about the effect of tourism on coral reefs

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Coral reefs are sites of some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet and are vital for
maintaining the advanced ecosystem of the oceans. Equivalent to underwater rainforests,
coral reefs are among the
oldest of the planet's
ecosystems and are the
Earth's largest living
structures. Coral reefs
are famous for their
extraordinary symbiotic
relationships and are
home to 25% of marine
species of fish and
across the world
500,000,000 people rely
on coral reefs to survive.
30 out of 34 known animal
phyla are present in coral
reefs. Coral reefs form
natural barriers to protect
the coastline from erosion from the sea, thereby
protecting thousands of constructions at the coast
without the existence of coral reefs many areas, such as large areas of Florida would be
underwater. Each year coral reefs provide
an estimated $375,000,000,000 in
worldwide goods and services and have
been used in medicine to treat cancer, HIV,
cardiovascular diseases and ulcers as well
as being used as human bone grafts.
However, if their rate of destruction
continues, 70% of the world's current coral
reefs will have been destroyed by 2050. In
Southeast Asia, 88% of the coral reefs are
said to be at risk! Many are worried that
ocean acidification due to an increase in
carbon dioxide levels due to the burning of fossil fuels may harm the fragile coral. However,
scientists cannot be sure of the effects of acid on coral as experiments are difficult to carry
out when the coral requires so many other
precise conditions to flourish. Other threats to

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The effects of tourism on coral reefs
Coral is extremely fragile and, once broken, can take years to regrow, some corals only
growing at a rate of 5mm/year! This is why tourists can be so damaging to coral reefs as the
reef cannot recover quickly enough. Lots of coral is snapped off by
tourists or sold as souvenirs, which greatly harms the coral
population.
Coastal development is also a huge contributor to the destruction
of coral reefs as this adds to the marine pollution load.…read more

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