Artificial reefs have been used in the past to stimulate the development of coral reefs. However, like restoration in a rainforest, priorities should first be to preserve whatever is left, and then to restore what has been lost, and not to assume that what has been destroyed can “always be replaced”. An original, thriving system is always better than a created one that is less environmentally productive.
Artificial reefs can help damaged coral reefs recover. However, the living coral will not be helped by artificial reefs if they cannot survive for other reasons. The corals are essential parts of the reef ecosystems, providing habitat for many species of underwater creatures. The increasing temperatures of the ocean water and increasing salinity and changes in pH are important factors that are affecting the survival of corals. If these corals who are on the verge of extinction eventually do go extinct, many fish and other animals will not be able to survive anymore either. This will be important in countries where fishing and tourism of coral reefs are important to the local economy.
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