Coastal habitats, including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and macroalgal beds, salt marshes and mangrove forests, are key ecosystems in terms of their role in supporting marine biodiversity and the functions they deliver to society, which include shoreline protection, carbon burial and their role as a nursery for living resources. Because of these and other important services such as nutrient cycling—also a result of their high production and metabolic rates—coastal habitats have been acknowledged to rank amongst the most valuable ecosystems on Earth.
Yet these habitats are being lost globally at alarming rates, exceeding by between four and ten times the global loss of rainforests. This volume sets out to increase awareness about the damage being done to coastal ecosystems by providing detailed analyses, global in scope, of the rates of loss, and their causes and consequences, for individual types of habitats.
This book draws its contents from the third in a series of debates organized jointly by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the BBVA Foundation around the work of the Cap Salines Coastal Research Station (Mallorca, Balearic Islands). In its pages, leading international experts review and synthesize the current state and coastal habitats and the causes of consequences of current losses.
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