According to a recent study conducted by a team of researchers, coral reefs save our planet from strong and violent oceanic storms, which otherwise could create much havoc and loss. Coral reefs reportedly are a natural protective barrier against dynamic floods. The study said that the damage caused by floods at the present would increase by two times if the reefs die off.
The lead author of the study, Prof. Michael Beck of the University of California in Santa Cruz, said that the coral reefs of the whole planet taken together are worth near about four billion dollars per annum in protection against flood. The head scientist of The Nature Conservancy Research and Environmental Group, Beck explained that the U.S. obtains near about hundred million dollars per annum in terms of flood abatement benefits from the reefs of the nation.
However, with the present threats to coral reefs across the globe, almost all of these protective barriers against flood would be gradually lost. The study pointed out that near about seventy-one thousand kilometers (forty-four thousand miles) of coral reef coastlines across the world have been damaged due to human activities like sand mining, coastal development, discharge of harmful effluents from industries, and dynamite fishing. Coral reefs are even sensitive to rise in temperature of water. Due to the current climate changes and atmospheric conditions, the water temperature of oceans is increasing dynamically. This is a huge threat to the existing coral reefs.
As per the statements of Beck, “Coral reefs serve as natural, submerged breakwaters that reduce flooding by breaking waves and reducing wave energy. Unfortunately, we are already losing the height and complexity of shallow reefs around the world, so we are likely already seeing increases in flood damages along many tropical coasts.”
The nations that are likely to benefit the most from the protection and conservation of coral reefs are the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cuba, and Mexico. According to the study, coral reefs provide most of the benefits to island states such as Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Grenada, the Philippines, Jamaica, and Cuba.
Beck said that the coral reef is such a living ecosystem, which could be recovered by proper management. This study, published in the Nature Communications journal has reportedly identified why and from where the required support for reef management and restoration could be found.