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Human Deforestation Outweighs Climate Change for Coral Reefs
June 5, 2013 — Better land use is the key to preventing further damage to the world’s coral reefs, according to a study published this week in the online science journal Nature Communications.
The study, by an international team including a researcher from The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, has important implications for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The study authors write that preventing soil erosion and sediment pollution arising from human activities such as deforestation are crucial to reef survival.
The study — ‘Human deforestation outweighs future climate change impacts of sedimentation on coral reefs’ — looked at the effects of future climate change on the hydroclimate of Madagascar’s reefs and different deforestation scenarios.
“The findings are very relevant for Australia since intense land use and past deforestation have transformed the river catchments tremendously and are seen as a major threat to coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef and elsewhere,” said Dr Jens Zinke, of UWA’s Oceans Institute.