GR: Kelp and seagrass form critical habitats within marine ecosystems. Both grow in shallow water where they serve as essential habitat for animals, and important nutrient recyclers. Compared to terrestrial vegetation, we know little about these vegetation types. Biogeographers have mapped general distributions, but they have not made detailed maps of species associations.
The seagrass vegetation map accompanies a report on the decline of seagrass due to pesticides washing from the land into the ocean. The infographic below shows the distribution of seagrass genera in various habitats. The authors point out that there have been few attempts to restore destroyed seagrass meadows. Most attempts have failed.
Anna Brones reports on seagrass, and notes that it is disappearing at the same rate as the rainforest and coral reefs. The loss equals serious environmental and economic effects (www.care2.com).
As in the case of terrestrial vegetation decline, a process called desertification, not much is being done to stop seagrass and kelp declines. More is needed, and as I learn about restoration efforts I will report them here. Meantime, the best we can do is try to block pesticide use and chemical fertilizer use on land.
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