New studies have found that coral reefs in Madagascar are being badly affected and deforestation is a main reason.
Researchers have been analysing coral reef bands in North East and Western Madagascar. The bands can give information on growth history, much like the rings seen on trees.
The results have shown that the coral has not been growing properly and that some show clear signs of disease.
The researchers believe that the removal of forests on the land and an increase in human populations have badly affected the corals.
Removing the forest means that rivers pick up more sediment (as the forests used to hold it together) and this sediment is carried down to the ocean. Once the river meets the ocean, the sediment is dumped and this can smother the coral reefs. Reefs are unable to grow properly and suffer more incidents of disease.
It is therefore vitally important for coral reef conservation plans to include land-based targets such as preventing the removal of forests in order to be successful.
Want to learn more? See http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0905-deforestation-coral-reefs.html