Maldives Term Paper - Island Essay Example

Brandon Parezo Environmental Science Research Paper November 23rd, 2011 Maldives The country of Maldives is officially known as the Republic of Maldives, or as many people know of it as the Maldive Islands - Maldives Term Paper introduction. It is located in the Indian Ocean, island nation, and the way that it is formed is by a double chain of twenty-six atolls (1). An “atoll” is a coral island that surrounds a “lagoon” partially or completely (1). The major surrounding countries near Maldives are Sri Lanka and India, Maldives is about 430 miles from Sri Lanka and about 250 miles from India (1).

The major type/s of topography for Maldives is the fact that it is a cluster of around 1,200 small islands (2). One of the islands consists of just the capital, Male, and another one of the islands serves the purpose of the nation’s airport. Besides those two islands, basically every island serves a single purpose. They have an island just to store their fuel, one for their dump yards, 199 of them for population, and 80 islands that consist of major tourist locations (2).


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For the Maldive Islands there really only one major language spoken, Dhivehi (1). It is a Indo-European language and it spoken by at least 350,000 people on the islands (1). The present-day script that is used on the islands is called Thanna and what is quite interesting about this is that it is written from right to left, unlike us who go from left to right (1). According to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) the Maldives Islands are considered a LDC, or Least Developed Country (3).

Clues to the fact that it is a LDC is that Maldives have low income, weak human resources, and a low level of economic diversification (3), but according to an opinion I noticed on a website the Maldives Islands will be reconsidered as a developed country as of January 1st, 2011. Yes, there is most certainly economic growth in the Maldive Islands. The main thing that is powering their economic growth is Tourism (4). Annually, the Maldive Islands get 700,000 tourists (4). Other factors that help boost the economic growth are things such as transportation, communication, and construction sectors (4).

Fishing is also another important factor to the growth of the economy (4). In regards to the question of is it sustainable, there are a few key factors for developing countries to follow. They need to be able to integrate into the world economy, maintain high rates of savings and investments, and a government that is capable and committed to running the country (5). Maldive Flag. Maldive Native Costume. The economy in Maldive is a strong economy. On average, year after year, they have experienced a slow increase percentage of Per Capita Income, from 3. 11 in the 1980’s to 7. 43 in 2011 (6).

The inflation rate in Maldives has steadily stayed low, their GDP is around $1. 48 billion, external debt is sitting around $933 million, and their unemployment was a little high at 14. 4% (7). For Maldives, there is a huge value put on natural capital. Maldives is home to 5% of the global coral reefs, you find roughly 1,100 different kind of fishes and over 250 different corals in this area (8). This becomes a major tourist hot spot which brings capital to the nation. For my research on the pollution control, not much information came up meaning that they experience little to no air pollution in this area.

For the section on resources use there is a lot of value put forth in it, the only natural resource that Maldive has is fish. Fishing makes up a huge part of their nations economy. A major environmental problem facing Maldives is that the Island is literally sinking, there is only about 7 feet of natural ground left before the ocean waters rise above the island. An economic tool that is being used for this problem is that the President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, planned to purchase new land in India, Sri Lanka, and Australia (1). Also, another environmental problem facing the nation is greenhouse gases.

The president of Maldives believed that by cutting the greenhouse emissions to help/prevent the nation from being totally submerged under water, the economic tool used is that they put a plan in action to have all greenhouse gas emissions eliminated by 2020 (1). According to the rural poverty portal Maldives has no significant poverty, their poverty level is quite low (9). Even though they do not have a high level of poverty, they still remain vulnerable in certain populated areas. The difference of income between the nation’s capital, Male, and the atolls has increased from 1. times to 2. 3 times (9). This means that the population living in the capital is making 2. 3 times more than those you live on the surrounding islands. The change in poverty levels would not have a significant affect on the environmental problems facing the country. Different ways that the government has helped Maldives become a sustainable society is that they have passed many rules and regulations to help protect one of their biggest assets, fishing. There are 4 laws, 2 regulations, and a fisheries Act that have been passed in Maldive to make sure of sustainability (10).

The four laws are Fisheries Law, Law of Fisheries fresh fish, Law of Large Yellow fin fisheries, and Law of providing information of foreign fishing boats that enter to the Economic Zone of Maldives (10). On two of the those laws they have placed regulations, there is a Purchasing and Exporting Regulation on the Law of Fisheries fresh fish and there is a Export Regulation on the Law of Large Yellow fin fisheries (10). The fisheries Act that was passed includes many things, but mostly it involved things that are banned to use by fishermen.

Things that are banned for fishermen to use are things such as purse seine, trawl nets, gill net, explosives,poisons, etc (10). How any policy is made, whether it is environmental or not, is similar to the US. It has to go through many votes through the Judiciary system along with many approvals (1). For Maldives there are several different environmental laws that have been put into affect to protect everything from their fishing to their tourism. The laws that have been established are as followed (11): The Fisheries Act of Maldives 1987 The Tourism Act of Maldives 1999

Maritime Law of the Maldives The Environmental Protection and Preservation Act 1993 Multilateral Environmental Treaties Regulation on Protection and Conservation of Enviroment in Tourism Industry EIA Regulations 2007 All of these regulations have proven to be a success and help Maldive become a sustainable society. It has helped the nation regulate and maintain things such as environment, waste disposal, oil, poisnous substances, hazardous/toxic nuclear wastes, protected areas and natural reserves (11). Since the Maldives is not a large nation they only have one or two environmental groups.

The biggest group is Bluepeace. The role of this group is to protect the environment through education and training (12). They want to increase awareness about the environment to the Maldive people through understanding and knowledge (12). They want to fulfill research goals, build environmental monitoring and management skills (12). They want to organize and act upon activities and projects at many levels in the Maldives to help protect their precious environment (12). They want to communicate and collaborate with stakeholders who want to also help with protecting the global environment (12).

Lastly, their final role is to fulfill all the little things that they can do together as a community to save the environment, for example: do not litter (12). When is comes to environmental security, many things are being done. Bluepeace is a prime example of environmental security, the objectives they have consider the best interest of the environment and how to protect. The nation has passed many laws and regulations also to help protect their environment. If those laws are followed by everyone the security of the environment should be sealed and safe.

I do believe that overall their rules and regulations are quite effective. One thing that is very interesting about the Maldives is that there is only one natural resource, fish. This means that all other forms of fuel and energy are imported from other countries (13). There are two main used for the refined oil that is imported, aviation and electricity generation (13). There are also smaller uses for these refined oils such as fuel for cars, boats, and cooking stoves (13). The islands of Maldive import 5,490 barrels of oil every single day, it is safe to say that these islands depend heavily on oil and imports (13).

Yes, I do believe that the Maldives follow the four scientific principles of sustainability, let me explain. The first principle is to eliminate systematic increases in concentration of substances from the earth’s crust, Maldives only have one natural resource (fish) so there is no reason for them to concentrate substances from the earth’s crust. The islands do not have a concentration of matter being created by humanity, everything on the island is mostly imported from surrounding countries. No worries of over harvesting. The poverty levels are extremely low, so the fact of deprivation by physical ways is nearly extinct in this nation.

Nearly every human on the Maldive islands has their basic needs met, fulfilling the final principle. This shows that this nation is a sustainable country and follows the four principles. One major geological process/hazard for Maldives is the current rising of the sea level. What contributes to the rising sea level is thermal expansion, when the ocean water begins to heat up it begins to expand (14). They say that there is only about 7ft of height left between the natural land and the sea level (1). By the 2100 scientists believe that the sea level will rise roughly 23 inches, or 2 feet (1).

Sooner or later the sea level will rise about the natural land of Maldive because, globally, Maldive is the lowest lying piece of land. Another hazard that Maldive has to worry about are Tsunamis, or tidal waves, they do not happen often the last one being December 26th, 2004 (15). When the question of what are the major mineral resource for your nation came up I was quite surprised about the answer, none. The Maldive islands literally have zero mineral resources and nonrenewable resources (16). So, this means that there is no depletion time for their nonrenewable resources because there are no renewable resources.

Once again, the only natural resource that have is fish. The way that they are keeping the fish in a sustainable state is through numerous laws and regulations, including banned fishing ways that could result in jail time. A typical food web would begin with your producers, which is mainly your plants. Those plants/producers are consumed by a group call herbivores, these herbivores strictly stick to consuming plants. Then you have your carnivores who usually shy away from the plants and feeds off other animals (predators).

Different producers that are located on the Maldive Islands are coconut trees, banyan, screw pine, vines and mangroves (17). What is unique about the Maldive Islands is that most of their creatures are found in the water, the land animals are scarce. For the herbivore group they have fish called the Parrot fish, they feed off the coral reef (18). They are a multicolored fish with defense mechanism that allows them to cover themselves in a cocoon type deal that protects them from predators (18). A carnivore creature that lives near the Maldive Islands is the Barracuda (18).

This creature has a ominous look about itself, frightening, with a-ray finned body and a large sized fish (18). An omnivore that lives in the coral reef around the Maldive Islands is the Orange Lyretail Anthias, this creature eats both other species and plants (19). This type of fish is considered a mid level swimmer and always swims with a school of fish (19). What is unique about this fish is that everyone one of them is born female and the larger ones will later turn to males (19). A decomposer that lives in the coral reefs of the Maldive Islands is the Fan Worm.

Fan worms can range from small to about an inch when completely fanned out (20). They are a good thing for coral reefs because they are able to filtered the water and give out nutrients, they also can be used as food for other creatures (20). A scavenger that leaves in the reefs of the Maldive Islands is the Flatfish (21). This fish often lays on the bottom of the reef floor with both of it’s eyes on one side of the body (21). So, the typical food web for Maldive would consist of the Fan worm and reef plants being consumed by your herbivores (Parrotfish), then your herbivore (Barracuda) would come along and consume that herbivore.

There are also predators bigger than the barracuda that would consume it, multiple levels of carnivores. The only real human effect that is causing problems to the nutrient cycles for the Maldive Islands is the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect basically the warming of the earth’s surface. The atmosphere serves as a coat for the earth and without it things would go incredibly wrong. The problem with greenhouse effect is when the surface heats up so does the water, which causes the water to expand and rise water levels.

Maldive Islands is experiencing this right now, they have nearly seven feet of natural land height before the water reaches it, without a reversal of our ways we could eventually lose the Islands completely under water. Thing that we can do to prevent green house gases are to turn off lights when we leave rooms, try to avoid using a car in all ways, use less energy! (22). When researching studies of ecosystems in Maldives I came across the study of the Mangrove Ecosystem. This study was conducted in Baarah, Maldives in 2004. While onducting this study they wanted more understanding of the ecological ecosystem such as the mangrove. There were multiple sites where this study was conducted, the first site studied the soil fertility. The results showed that site 1 was rich in organic matter, with dark waterlogged organisms such as worms and leeches. Site 2 seemed to have a more stiff clay/sandy consistency to its soil (23). Biodiversity for the Maldive Islands is a big part of the natural environment. They have a wide range of varied animals and plants. Due to the climate of the Maldive Islands, many different shrubs and palm trees are able to grow there.

The temperature and humidity of the islands is a important factor for the growth of tropical plants and trees, including grasses, flowering plants, tropical vines, etc. The land animals on in the Maldives include small rodents, bats, and reptiles, which forms another important part to the biodiversity of the islands. The islands also have an abundance of insects and crabs that play an important role in the survival of many things, along with the marine life that surrounds the coral reefs (24). My research has turned up zero information on if there is any evidence of evolution, such as fossil fuels, that have been found on the islands.

The island imports most of their fossil fuels, such as oil, from neighboring countries. The climate condition that is effecting the natural selection in the major biomes is the fact that climate is heating up, quickly. The climate in the Maldives currently sits between 75 to 91 degrees, they also have high humidity but the ocean air keeps it relatively cool. The problem with the heating up of the climate is that the plants will not survive, the plants that are already located on the island our tropical plants they have already adapted to the heat and humidity.

The rise of the climate is going to cause a dryness in the soil causing the plants to die, then when you lose the plants your going to lose the herbivores. The food chain will basically fall apart do to the fact the an extreme climate will turn the islands into almost like a desert type situation. The climate is also going to rise the temperature of the water causing those animals problems, not to mention the sea level is slowly rising because of the greenhouse effect causing the islands to be submerged under water (1).

The Maldive Islands have 11 different mammal species, there have been no extinctions here in fact there are zero critically endangered, zero endangered, 1 is vulnerable, and 0 are near-threatened. It sounds to me that it is pretty safe to be a mammal near the Maldive Islands (25). An indicator species that is from the Maldive Islands is the Grey Heron. The Grey Heron bird is considered a wading bird and is mostly found in Europe and Asia. It is roughly 39 inches tall and can range from 2. 2-4. 6 pounds (26). A good example of a keystone species would be the Tiger shark, which is one of the most dangerous sharks.

Tiger sharks have no problem attacking anything from divers to boats, it has the worst rep about attacking and eating people (27). A foundation species that can found in the Maldives is the Megabat (fruit bat). They creature is important to the society of the Maldives because it transports seeds of plants to different areas, regenerating that plant elsewhere (28). For the non native species I found out something interesting about the Maldive Islands, they do not support the introduction of non-native species in to the country.

A species that is special to the Maldive Islands is a reptile called the agamid lizard, since the islands are quite small it is hard for reptiles to exist. They are a small lizard with a long tail and mostly survive off eating insects (29). An example of interspecific competition in the ocean near the Maldive Islands would be the competition between algae(random) and plankton(random). Both of these organisms need sunlight to survive so the organism towards the top receive more sunlight so they will survive (30).

An example of predator and prey would be the Tiger shark(clumped/predator) to basically any kind of fish, for example: Parrot fish(uniform). An example of parasite and host would be Ectoparasites(clumped) and Endoparasites(clumped) that live both on the inside and outside of a host. This parasites will attach themselves to fish and eat the particles of food that float from the body of the fishes, they do not physically eat it off of the fish (31). An example of Mutualism is when anemones (clumped) share a mutual relationship with the Boxer crab(clumped).

The way that this relationship works is that the crab will grab the anemones with its claw to defend itself from predators, then the anemones gets to demolish the leftovers left by the crab (31). A perfect example of Commensalism is when Imperial shrimp(uniform) will hop on the backs of sea cucumbers(clumped) and use them for transportation to different feeding areas (31). An example of primary succession in the Maldive Islands is over hundreds, maybe ever thousands of years a succession of oval reefs with some islands formed around the island of Maalhosmadulu, this reef ormed separately from the main reef. The reefs literally formed a new island. An example of secondary succession on the Maldive islands is that the soil is fertile and many different plants can grow from it, like the mangroves. They are trees that grow from the fertile soil to a medium height. These trees are studied very thoroughly on the Maldive islands (32). An example of a normal climax community for the Maldives would be a matured area of mangroves, the trees are native to the country and have been growing there for hundreds. The overall turnover rate for species in this area is quite low.

The stable ecosystem of the Maldive islands is most certainly due to inertia, or the ability of a living system such as a grassland or a forest to survive moderate disturbances (33). The stable ecosystem has a high species richness of marine animals, hundreds of different kinds of fish. A moderate disturbance in the climate or natural disaster would not affect this marine animals greatly. It would need to take a significant disturbances to disturb anything on land or in the ocean, many of the land creatures are use to high temperatures so temperatures would have to sore before have any affect on the land creatures.

PART 2 Resolution 1: The first environmental issue that is important to my country is the fact that the sea levels are rising. The issue begun many years ago when the greenhouse effect was discovered and brought to light by researchers. The problem with this issue is that it was completely, basically, our faults. The atmosphere serves as blanket to the earth’s crust, without that atmosphere living here would be impossible. Our lives are surrounded by energy, we use energy everyday and we also waste energy nearly everyday.

The greenhouse effect is eating away at the atmosphere causing more energy (heat) to be released into our atmosphere, this is result is causing everything to heat up. When things start to heat up, things also start to melt and expand. The problem in the Maldives is that the water is heating up, which is causing it to expand and rise. Since the Maldives are the lowest laying pieces of land in the world, they don’t have much time until the sea level reaches them. So, let me get to the solution to this problem. The first thing begins with us, we need to stop wasting energy.

We need to drive less, turn of appliances and electricity when we are not using it especially lights. The damage may already be done and be to late for the Maldive Islands, in this case they have already started a good plan. They have begun buying up land near India and Sri Lanka, so when that inevitable happens their country will already be relocated and hopefully everything survives. Resolution 2: The second resolution that I want to discuss is the fact that the beaches are eroding and for Maldive tourism is a huge money maker so losing their beaches is not an option.

According to the FAO 57 of the inhabited island and many of the resort islands have severe beach erosion. They claim that the cause of all this beach erosion is due to the fact of loss source of sand, exposure to wave climate, changes in shore current patterns, natural or man made causes (construction of coastal infrastructure), and change in sediment balances. Now let’s get to the solution to the problem. Beach erosion is a difficult thing to try and fix/reserve. The first solution to the problem is to start with the man made problem, construction.

The construction of various different things has caused the erosion of the beaches. Since it is a developing country, I’m sure that their ways and technology could be changed. They should start with the education of construction to their workers, educate them on the proper and improper ways of constructing things so it does not affect the beaches. They should, most likely, need to change their equipment. I’m guessing that their equipment is out of date or old and could be upgraded to newer and better technology that could help fix the eroding beach problem.

Other things like waves and currents can not be changed, that is all up to mother nature. Losing the beaches in Maldives is not an option, tourism makes up nearly 29% of their economy and those beaches are a huge part of it (34). Resolution 3: The last resolution that I will be discussing is the environmental issue of coral mining. The reason for the coral mining is that the miners extract the living coral form the reef tops of faros, then they are giving to supply the construction industry. The higher demand for construction material is in Male and the tourist spots because that is where most of the construction is being done.

The biggest problem with mining the coral reed is that it reduces coastline protection against normal tide, which means that the beaches will not be protected against erosion. The problem with coral mining is that fact that they are extracting different creatures from their natural habits, leaving them out on their own not knowing what to do. The solution to this problem is basically to stop the mining. They are ruining one of the greatest attractions to their islands, the coral reef. This is also causing much stress to the beaches and causing erosion to them because they do not have protection.

I do understand that they need to do construction, but without the coral reef and beaches they will have no tourism. In conclusion, my overall opinion of the country is that it is rich in culture and a beautiful country. I learned a lot about the Maldive Islands that I did not know, including the fact that I did not know of the country until I started this project. They are facing quite a few environmental issues that they need to find solutions to quickly or they could face losing their entire nation under water. I really enjoyed this research project (34). Work Cited. 1. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Maldives 2. http://www. newint. rg/columns/country/2006/06/01/maldives/ 3. http://www. unesco. org/ldc/list. htm 4. http://www. traveldocs. com/mv/economy. htm 5. http://web. worldbank. org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/SOUTHASIAEXT/MALDIVESEXTN/0,,contentMDK:21775570~menuPK:306332~pagePK:2865066~piPK:2865079~theSitePK:306313,00. html 6. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Economy_of_the_Maldives 7. http://www. state. gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5476. htm 8. http://bankofnaturalcapital. com/tag/maldives/ 9. http://www. ruralpovertyportal. org/web/guest/country/home/tags/maldives 10. http://help. seedam. org/? p=360 11. http://www. bluepeacemaldives. org/laws. htm 12. http://www. luepeacemaldives. org/aboutbluepeace. htm 13. http://www. carboncommentary. com/2009/03/16/484 14. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise 15. http://www. tsunami. maldiveisle. com/ 16. http://ezinearticles. com/? The-Economy-of-the-Maldives&id=2432765 17. http://www. indian-ocean-island. com/maldives-hotels-resorts/about-maldives. php 18. http://www. maldivesdivetravel. com/maldives-marine-life 19. http://www. bluefishaquarium. com/salt_fish_anthias_pseud_squami. htm 20. http://www. reefcorner. com/SpecimenSheets/fan_worms. htm 21. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Flatfish 22. http://www. indianchild. com/greenhouse_effect. tm 23. http://idosi. org/gjer/gjer2(2)08/5. pdf 24. http://www. mapsofworld. com/maldives/geography/biodiversity. html 25. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/List_of_mammals_of_the_Maldives 26. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Grey_Heron 27. http://www. themaldives. com/diving/maldives-sharks. html 28. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Megabat 29. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Agama_(genus) 30. http://answers. yahoo. com/question/index? qid=20090305195352AAWy9uJ 31. http://marinebio. org/oceans/symbionts-parasites. asp 32. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Atolls_of_the_Maldives 33. Book 34. http://www. fao. org/docrep/X5623E/x5623e0r. htm

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