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Global Kelp forests declining at 1.8% annually

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    16th Feb, 2023

Context

Large underwater forests of kelp, brown marine algae seaweeds, are declining by roughly 1.8 per cent annually.

About

About Kelp Forests

  • Kelp forests are under water areas with a high density of kelp, which covers a large part of the world's coastlines.
  • They are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth.
    • Smaller areas of anchored kelp are called kelp beds.
  • Kelp forests occur worldwide throughout temperate and polar coastal oceans.

Kelps cover 25 percent of the world’s coastlines and provide food and shelter for fish, invertebrates and marine mammal species.

  • Kelp forests are underwater forests that thrive well in cold, nutrient rich waters.
  • Kelps are large brown algae seaweeds attached to the seafloor and eventually grow to the water’s surface and rely on sunlight to generate food and energy.
  • These forests are always coastal and require shallow, relatively clear water.
  • These forests harbor a greater variety and higher diversity of plants and animals than almost any other ocean community.

Function

  • Kelps function underwater in the same way trees do on land. They create habitat and modify the physical environment by shading light and softening waves.
  • These forests provide important three-dimensional, underwater habitat that is home to hundreds or thousands of species of invertebrates, fishes, and other algae.
  • These forests comprise one of the ocean’s most diverse ecosystems. Many fish species use kelp forests as nurseries for their young, while seabirds and marine mammals like sea lions, sea otters and even gray whales use them as shelter from predators and storms.
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