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A Coral Reef Case Study: Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
By Matt J. Weiss, April 8, 2009 @ 05:00 AM (EST)
Source: Sciencedaily.com
n a recent issue of the journal Coral Reefs, lead authors Kimberly A. Selkoe and Benjamin S. Halpern, both of NCEAS, explain how their maps of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) –– a vast area stretching over 1,200 miles –– can be used to make informed decisions about protecting the world's fragile reefs.

Coral reef ecosystems are at risk due to the direct and indirect effects of human activities. This study was designed to help natural resource managers make decisions on issues such as surveillance priorities, granting of permits for use, and discernment of which areas to monitor for climate change effects.

"Our maps of cumulative human impact are a powerful tool for synthesizing and visualizing the state of the oceans," said first author Selkoe, who is also affiliated with Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii. "The maps can aid in strategically zoning uses of oceans in an informed way that maximizes commercial and societal benefits while minimizing further cumulative impact."

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