Thursday, January 26, 2006

Reefs Cheaper to Protect...




That's right, which makes perfect sense. But the UN Environment Programme has reported that the costs of protecting the decreasing coral reefs and mangrove habitats is minute compared to the eco friendly tourism money that such environments generate. The report, to be issued at a conference in Paris, estimated that intact coral reefs were worth $100,000-$600,000 per sq km (0.3861 sq mile) a year to humankind and a sq km of mangroves $200,000-$900,000 a year. They say these estimates are from fisheries, tourism and shore protection. The report goes on to state that the estimated cost for protecting that same km would be only $775, and relates places like Egypt which 11% of its GNP is from tourism and over a quarter of that tourism is scuba related. Similar cases lie in the Bahamas.

what's really amazing is that it has taken this long before anyone came out with this information. I know also of Caribbean islands are going the way of eco-tourism and thus protecting their habitats (such as the Dominican Republic). It would be amazing if the United States would actually realize this. I mean think, the tragedy of New Orleans would have never happened if we protected marshes and barrier islands. South Florida is going to take a beating with no mangroves along the east coast (although the reefs are still there). But lets just talk about all different habitats we could protect. Much of the Chesapeake becomes anoxic, the same bay which was so abundant for American fisheries for decades. While I am unsure whether or not the economic figures are accurate, I am quite sure they are close.

Things that are encouraging are places like Pennekamp State Park and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida and the proposed largest no take zone in the United States, a 132,000-square-mile (337,920-square-kilometer) area along a remote 1,400-mile (2,253-kilometer) long string of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The mangrove photo is from http://www.floridaoceanographic.org/environ/mangrove1.htm
and the reef photo is from http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/

4 comments:

Tait said...

Its great to hear about a major gov organization coming out with this kind of study...of course I don't think the current US Admin cares or will listen...the thing about protecting the environment is it is a long term investment..it pays for itself (easily) over a long time.....and America doesn't care...if we can make more money right now by building a new Walmart on a swamp then thats what we are gonna do....sure hope atleast "smarter" gov like the EU, Egypt,Bahamas, hell even China..etc all take this seriously though

Tait said...

By the way..its nice that you actually credit where you get your photos from....I just use them and don't worry about it.....of course I guess the photos I use are available from multiple sources ..not specific like yours..but still..good job

john said...

well i just dont want to get arrested they are already watching me... haha...but i agree about the us being stupid about only thinking in the short term... but ah well, one can only hope that eventually we will wisen up...

Tait said...

Yeah..I think we'll eventually wise up when each year (like the past three years) turns out to be a record breaker in terms of "costs of natural disasters".....I mean insurance companies actually have to pay out SOME money now so I'm sure they'll lobby congress to help protect their pure profit business...maybe that will lead to some wetland conservation ...maybe even help restore some