Subject: Coral Reef vs Tropical Rainforest

Dagmar Fertl (
Wed, 29 Sep 1999 10:54:04 PDT

Please help me answer this question: Preservation of Rain Forest versus 
coral reef.  Do to limited resources, which one should be first.  I'll 
really appreciate it if you could give some answers on this matter.

Dear AML,

While one would think that this question is pretty straight forward, it 
really isn't. We would never be in a position of having to decide between 
those two very different ecosystems. How do you decide whether or not to 
keep a rainforest, which probably has the largest diversity of species on 
earth (many species still undiscovered), that probably has cures or 
treatments yet undiscovered for plants and animals occurring there, where 
rainforests are important to countering global warming.  Compare this to 
coral reefs which also have quite a diversity of species, the ocean that 
gives us much of the oxygen that we need to stay alive, the ocean that 
absorbs and uses the carbon dioxide that is produced, the ocean that we use 
recreationally, etc.

Luckily and smartly so, we don't make decisions as to either/or in this 
case. For example, there are conservation groups (like the World Wildlife 
Fund) that accept contributions and see that a wide variety of projects are 

Hope this helps with your thinking on this question.  Sounds like something 
that would be used in a debate class.


Get Your Private, Free Email at