Coastal Habitat Protection
As the largest segment of the travel industry, coastal and marine tourism will soon see upwards of one billion people visiting these areas on a yearly basis, making coastal habitat protection a priority. To maintain coastal communities for continued enjoyment, tourism related businesses and relevant governmental agencies in coastal areas need to begin implementing plans toward encouraging sustainable use and development of these incredibly valuable areas.
As climate change impacts begin to take effect across the globe, threatening coastal habitats with impending sea level rise, ocean acidification and coral bleaching, actions need to be taken to mitigate intensive resource use toward reducing rates of greenhouse gas emissions. Relevant constituents of coastal communities such as resorts that contribute to the detriments on coastal ecosystems should take on a stewardship role for their locations and begin initiatives that attempt to restore essential natural habitats such as wetlands, and locally in Florida, mangrove estuaries. Integrating the management of natural resources into coastal resorts' operations can help to prolong the continued viability of the location as a tourism destination.
At a governmental level, regulations should be developed that limit increasing densities of coastal tourism developments toward mitigating impacts from human generated pollution and damages to the coastal ecosystems. As an essential component of a coastal community's economy, resort destinations are beneficial to local communities, but without attentive management and regulations, areas can quickly become degraded, damaging the natural beauty that draws tourists, and impacting the area's tourism industry economically.
Coastal habitat protection is the responsibility of all who wish to benefit from or even just visit coastal regions. Coastal communities need to make sustainable initiatives a priority to extend the life cycle of coastal areas, and towards this end, should develop plans of action that encourage stewardship of natural ecosystems that provide essential services naturally and sustainably.