The ecological consequences of coral mining can be severe, with immediate reduction in reef-associated biodiversity and longer term implications for linked habitats such as mangrove forests and seagrass meadows. However, research into the effects of coral mining must take into account other environmental processes which may affect reef communities and the socio-economic context within which coral mining takes place if appropriate and proportionate management responses are to be identified. This article builds upon recently published research detailing the adverse effects of coral mining in Indonesia to illustrate the significance of these points. We use the previous paper to demonstrate that accurate identification of the ecological impacts of coral mining requires the use of appropriate control sites and ecognizing natural stresses which may account for short-term variability in ecological parameters. We also underline the need to appreciate that government institutions can directly or indirectly facilitate coral mining, whilst proposed alternative income-generating activities intended to reduce coral mining should be tailored to the local economic, cultural and environmental context if they are to gain community support. This demonstrates the value of an integrated approach to analyzing marine resource usage which combines information from the natural and social sciences to address environmental problems such as coral mining.
- coral mining
- environmental threats