The text on this site is presented as an archival version of the script of "Ocean Planet," a 1995 Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. The content reflects the state of knowledge at the time of the exhibition, and has not been updated.
Coral reefs thrive in clear, sunlit tropical waters and support abundant and diverse fish populations. Soil erosion from widespread land clearing can send tons of silt downstream. Sediment clouds the water, blocking sunlight, and settles on reefs, suffocating the organisms.
Heavily silted reef, Philippines
photo © Lynn Funkhouser
Taking down a tropical forest tree, Papua New Guinea, 1983
During the 1980s over 381 million acres (154 million hectares) of tropical forests were lost--an area almost three times the size of France. Clearing continues for logging, farming and ranching, and rural development.
photo © James Blair/National Geographic Society
Salmon travel from salt water and swim upstream to spawn in clear, gravel stream beds. Silt from logging and road-building buries the gravel of many salmon-spawning streams, and removal of shade trees raises water temperature.
Mature second-growth forest logged to the border of a salmon- spawning stream
near Botany Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
photo © Doug Wechsler/Animals Animals
Logging old-growth sitka spruce
Lyell Island, British Columbia
Old-growth logging may cost more jobs in the salmon industry than jobs at risk from restrictions on logging. Fishing on the Pacific coast of North America is a $10 billion industry that employs as many as 200,000 Americans and Canadians annually.
photo © Steve Jackson/URSUS
Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan
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