Coral reefs are vast treasure chests just dying to be tapped and discovered. They offer homes to hundreds of thousands of creatures, as well as are fantastic for minerals used for many medicines and are even found in the cosmetics that we use in our every day life.
Coral reefs, however, are also the victims of frequent abuse. Human interaction with coral reefs can be describe as somewhat—careless. Humans trample, overfish, and literally poison these precious works of natural art constantly. This not only is bad for the coral, which are unable to defend themselves against human destruction, but also for us humans, who use the resources from these underwater worlds.
Although the awareness for coral reef destruction is not as high as it should be, Fiji’s Protected Area Committee has tasked itself with the goal of making sure that the coral reefs in the area next to the main islands are remaining protected and conserved. Studies showed that terrestrial runoff from surrounding areas is a huge problem, so the study focused more on that aspect of coral reef endangerment than any other. By either representing more vegetation on land or protecting coral reefs from runoff, researchers found that they might be more likely to help conserve coral reefs while also causing some benefits on land. This would in turn hopefully increase overall number of conservation goals that were reached.
The study’s approach was to find out how the Fiji’s Protected Area Committee’s plan for terrestrial conservation would, in turn, affect the coral in the area. They used 6 options of where they were to work on the land based off of what they guessed would have the most luck in getting to whichever conservation goal they had designed for the area on land versus the idea that they would just try to prevent as much runoff as possible that had come from the surrounding areas.
Although having both goals being met at equal rates would have been the ideal, the areas that were specifically engineered by the Fiji Protected Area Committee to ensure coral reef survival, the coral reefs did significantly better, and a large percentage of the conservation goals for the land areas were not reached. A lot of the data had been skewed by the fact that the areas where coral reefs were the focus of that part of the study’s data collection goals, that a lot of the data from the terrestrial side of the area was inaccurate due to lack of data collected or observed.
Although these statistics show good things in the case of the coral reefs, the area committee cannot completely forget the work that must be done to also preserve the terrestrial area as well. In response to their results, the Fiji Protected Area Committee is continuing to make changes to their study as they see fit by changing what areas are focusing the conservation for either the reefs or the land in the area will have a high percentage of positive affects for both environments.