Impact of the 1991 Gulf War on the coastal environment and ecosystems: Current status and future prospects
Price, Andrew R. G.. (1998) Impact of the 1991 Gulf War on the coastal environment and ecosystems: Current status and future prospects. ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL, 24 (1-2). pp. 91-96. ISSN 0160-4120Full text not available from this repository.
This paper reviews the current status of the Gulfs coastal environment five years after the 1991 war. It also examines some key issues that emerged during the post-war period and considers future environmental prospects for the region. Despite extensive damage to coastal salt marshes and mangroves, the post-war period has generally been characterised by recovery of intertidal biota (diversity, community structure), wintering wader populations (abundance, community structure), and seabird populations (abundance, reproductive success). The subtidal was less exposed to oiling than the intertidal, and war-related events may have had only minor influence on changes observed on coral reefs. Biological patterns observed are in accordance with the generally declining petroleum hydrocarbon levels recorded in shallow coastal sediments. However, levels actually increased between 1992 and 1993 in parts of the NW Gulf, probably from increased tanker traffic. Similarly, sediments at 5 of 11 sites studied in 1993 exhibited high toxicity and contained high petroleum levels. Overall, these effects match predictions made in 1993 and are in accordance with the Gulfs perturbed nature and short-term dynamics. Providing a single index as a 'snapshot' of the health of the environmental system, which also captures the dynamics of the different ecosystems impacted, remains elusive. Additional difficulties include incomplete time-series, the possibility of misjudgements about species abundance and mortality from incomplete sampling, and the likelihood of synergism and antagonism between war-related effects, background impacts, and natural stresses. Economic costs of war damage are even more problematic to assess than ecological impacts. Postwar studies suggest that certain coastal activities unrelated to the conflict (e.g., recreation and fishing), can be equally or more damaging environmentally than war-related effects. Use of the coastal zone as a repository for solid wastes and development of infrastructures is also increasing and becoming a major issue. However, war-related concerns have often been viewed outside the wider context of coastal zone management, resulting in an incomplete picture. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Science > Life Sciences (2010- ) > Biological Sciences ( -2010)|
|Journal or Publication Title:||ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL|
|Publisher:||PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD|
|Number of Pages:||6|
|Page Range:||pp. 91-96|
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