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Recovering Reefs

January 19, 2009

Coral reefs hit hard by 2004’s tsunami in Southeast Asia are recovering at a rapid rate.


Coral’s quick comeback….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed over 200,000 people and devastated coastal ecosystems. One of the areas hardest hit was Aceh, Indonesia. But according to Wildlife Conservation Society environmental economist Caleb McClennen, one of Aceh’s most important natural resources, the coral reefs, are making a surprisingly quick comeback.

CALEB McCLENNEN (Wildlife Conservation Society):
What we’re noticing in four years in the areas that were heavily impacted by the tsunami you’re seeing re-growth of coral at relatively fast, healthy rates, you’re seeing one of the best case scenarios for coral recovery for areas that were hit by the tsunami.

He says the reefs were also damaged by destructive fishing practices even before the tsunami hit. But since the disaster, a more scientific approach to managing the ecosystem has led to both the rapid recovery and more sustainable fisheries. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.