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Tsunami-damaged coral reefs should be left to recover naturally, say scientists

ction efforts will need to examine requirements for rebuilding damaged sectors such as fisheries and tourism, and rehabilitating the natural systems on which they depend, such as coral reefs."

Dr Edwards, of Newcastle University's School of Biology, added: "There are many quick fixes on offer but scientific evidence suggests that in most cases these would not be a good use of scarce resources and could actually harm surviving reefs. We need to find a long-term, sustainable solution for restoration. "We're advocating a cleaning up of the debris in the majority of cases, so as to allow natural recovery processes to take place. Coral reefs have been subject to natural disasters for millions of years, and they have survived and adapted over a long time."

Poorly planned reconstruction programmes undertaken on the land can also adversely affect marine wildlife, say the scientists. Professional environmental impact assessments should be carried out in the first instance so that projects can be undertaken with the minimum of impact.

Dr Edwards added: "For example, many developers like to build right on the coastline but they would be better advised to set back their developments a little to minimise the impact on sea life. Communities that are rebuilding hotels should take advantage of reconstruction funds to make sure there is effective sewage treatment available. And if builders are moving lots of earth around, they should do this in the dry season rather than the wet season to avoid sediment being washed into the sea."

USEFUL WEB LINKS:
The Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Project.
http://www.gefcoral.org
Dr Alasdair Edwards ?home page: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/biol/staff/profile/a.j.edwards


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Source:University of Newcastle upon Tyne


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