Nature Writing 3.doc - Coral reefs are an essential part of the Caribbean ecosystem They are known for their spectacular array of brightly colored

Nature Writing 3.doc - Coral reefs are an essential part of...

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Coral reefs are an essential part of the Caribbean ecosystem. They are known for their spectacular array of brightly colored fishes and corals but their ecological value greatly surpasses their beauty. Coral reefs are vital to every aspect of the economic and environmental health of the Caribbean. Sadly these areas of incredible biodiversity and enormous natural wealth are at risk. Most of the threats to coral reefs are caused by human activities. Tourism is a large part of the economy in the Caribbean. The Bahamas alone has almost four million visitors each year. Snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world travel to see the Caribbean’s amazing marine life. Others go to lie on the beaches, their white sands supplied by coral reefs. It is ironic that the reasons why coral reefs are in danger are directly linked to the reasons why they are so popular. While the influx of tourists is beneficial for the region’s financial health, it is not good for the ecosystem’s health. More visitors means more development takes place along the coastlines. The building of resorts and luxury hotels degrades the physical environment, and uneven shorelines are transformed from their natural state into finely raked rectangles. Sea walls are constructed, disrupting tidal action and currents.
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