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Living Coastal Resources of the Asean Regionand Data Requirements...

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Living Coastal Resources of the Asean Regionand Data Requirements for Their Management

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LIVING COASTAL RESOURCES OF THE ASEAN REGIONAND DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR THEIR MANAGEMENT SIGNIFICANCE OF LIVING COASTAL RESOURCES
Living coastal resources are found within major coastal ecosystems consisting of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, benthic systems, and estuaries or lagoons. Coastal ecosystems, particularly estuaries and inshore marine waters have the highest rate of primary production as compared to terrestrial and oceanic regions. Daily gross production rate in terms of grams of dry organic matter per square metre area for the narrow coastal band ranges from 10 to 25, with all other regions having substantially lower values (2). The coastal band conveniently thought of as the transition area between land and sea, holdsthis great diversity of ecosystems, each characterized by its own unique ecological feature. Conditions here may be harsh with wide fluctuations in temperature and salinity, but because of the abundance of food supply, these areas can and do support a high diversity of species which have become efficiently adapted to the widely fluctuating environmental conditions. These ecosystems remain productive because of tidal action which circulates food and nutrients rapidly and efficiently and at the same time washes away waste materials. They also serve as efficient nutrient traps of the continuous nutrient input washed down from land. Within these ecosystems, the autotrophic and heterotrophic layers are maintained in close contact so that energy transfer is more direct and better utilized. Primary productionoccurs all year round especially in the tropics, and the diversity of plant life (phytoplankton, benthic microflora, macroalgae and seagrasses) ensures a high primary production rate. A review of primary productivity rates of various ecosystems showed that the values for coastal ecosystems were far greater than for those of land, freshwater or the open ocean.

The average gross primary productivity (gm C/m2/year) was 2300 to 5074...