High levels of “human pressure” are affecting coastal regions all over the globe. Only 15.5% of these areas remain intact according to a recent study by Australian researchers.
The University of Queensland conducted the study to quantify “industrialized” factors that can damage the environment. These include roads, nutrient contamination from agricultural activities, and intense fishing.
Researchers identified areas that were highly damaged and those that had not been harmed, calling for urgent conservation efforts.
Brooke Williams, co-author, wrote that “the rate at which these areas are degrading poses massive risks not only to coastal species and habitats but also to health, safety, and economic security for countless people who rely on coast regions around the globe.”
According to an economist, the United States has seen a decline in the number of people who can afford to live close to rising seas. This is partly due to the fact that those with higher incomes are able to pay for climate mitigation measures.
Miami and other coastal cities are at greater risk from flooding because of climate change. In May 2021 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the $640 million resilience bill in an effort to reduce the state’s rising sea level.
Research has shown that over half of the US’s coasts are subject to very high levels of human stress, while Canada has managed most of its coastline unaffected.
According to the study, Los Angeles, New York City, New Jersey and Maryland had high levels in human pressure compared to other places that have remained relatively intact, including the Everglades National Park in Louisiana and Alaska.
Senior author Dr. Amelia Wenger described the findings of the study as “truly eye-opening” and urges people in power to take action to conserve the environment.
Wegner stated in a release that understanding the reasons coastal ecosystems are under stress can help us to design and implement more targeted management strategies and hopefully slow down this degradation and even turn it around.”