From the New Scientist:
Coral holds record of Kenya’s past
* 10 March 2007
* From New Scientist Print Edition.
Using samples taken from the Malindi coral reef near the mouth of the Sabaki river, Dominik Fleitmann of the University of Bern in Switzerland and colleagues have constructed a record of soil erosion over the past 300 years.
The river drains more than 10 per cent of the country’s fertile lands.
The team analysed seasonal growth bands in coral skeletons to reveal fluctuations in barium, which is abundant in sediments washed off the land.
The results showed that after two centuries of relative stability, soil erosion increased dramatically from the beginning of the 20th century (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2006GL028525).
Fleitmann attributes the erosion to British colonisation of the region, which began around the turn of the 20th century.
The erosion accelerated through the 1940s and continues to this day.
It has set the region on the road to disaster, Fleitmann says.
“Eighty per cent of people in Kenya work in the agrarian sector,” he says. “If the soil is gone, the people will have nothing. What will they even eat?”
See also here.
Sea Urchins Destroy Reef Building Algae in Overfished Sites on Kenya’s Coast: here.
Kenyan cultural heritage patented by multinational corporations: here.
Irresponsible tourism in Kenya: here.
WWF applauds new marine conservation push in coastal East Africa: here.