Biodiversity Threat 4: Habitat Destruction


The ocean is home to the deepest valleys and highest mountain ranges on the planet. There are deserts and forests, full of a wide diversity of animals and plants. The coastal ecosystems such as rocky reefs, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, mangroves, and kelp forests are especially important to humans. These are the ecosystems we interact with most frequently. Coastal areas are the most productive and biologically diverse on the planet. They are also the most densely populated by humans with 60% of the world’s population living within 60km of the coast. In addition to this, 80% of tourism takes place in coastal areas. Healthy coastal ecosystems are important for biodiversity, but also for the safety of millions of people.

Even landlocked communities have an important role to play in the health of coastal ecosystems. The water cycle connects all communities back to the ocean, and how we treat our lakes, rivers and even our storm drains will have an overarching impact on the natural world. For example, inland damns and deforestation can have direct impacts on freshwater local ecosystems and marine ecosystems downstream. Marine habitat destruction is not limited to saltwater coastlines.

Tourism and coastal development are two of the main causes of ecological loss in coastal regions. Experiencing the world through travel is also one of the greatest ways for an individual to strengthen character and diversify perspective. Looking to the future humans must take responsibility for ecosystems we interact with every day, and find sustainable solutions that will maintain coastline ecosystems and keep our economy strong.

Learning Objectives

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

  • #4 Quality Education
  • # Climate Action
  • # Life below water
  • # Partnerships for the Goals

Ocean Literacy Framework

  • #4: the ocean supports life on earth
  • #5: the ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems
  • #6: the ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected 

Continue to Looking to the Future »