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NOTE: The following are hypothetical/test cases for the Florida Keys Reef Tract and are meant only for discussion purposes. Please contact the authors for inquiries. Your web browser should have the Java 2 plug-in to access the templates presented below. Consult your browser manual for details on how to download and install the Java 2 support plug-ins.

Ecosystem (Habitats)

Very often, the geographic distribution of marine habitat has been referred to when restoring habitats, mining, monitoring endangered species, controlling pollution, protecting resources, analyzing coral reef ecosystems, and measuring the effects of human interventions on the natural habitats. A map showing the geographic distribution of habitats has many applications, and is essential in current management practices given the degradation and depletion of natural resources. Inventory of natural habitat types is the first step in ecosystem studies.


Legal Instruments


The implementation of rules and regulations regarding the use, conservation and protection of aquatic natural resources has remained a challenge to government agencies. Among the many uses of these maps, geographic perspective of legal and jurisdictional has often been used in: (i) formulating strategies and policies to effectively and efficiently implement local, state and federal rules and regulations, (ii) avoiding potential inter-agency conflicts in the conduct of their regulatory duties, and resolving any existing conflict, and (iii) developing and defining marine protected areas (and similar infrastructures) in conjunction with other maps (see below).


Natural Disaster


South Florida is often visited by tropical storms and hurricanes. This has influenced government strategies in managing the coast. Tropical weather and the related natural phenomena have shaped coral reef ecosystems. Technological improvements in forecasting weather disturbances has not, to date, translated into technologies that will allow coral reef managers to mitigate expected catastrophic destruction to the natural resources. Importantly, there are not definitive answers on what determines the resiliency of coral reef ecosystems frequently disturbed by storms. This map overlays the storm tracks and coral reefs (natural and artificial) in southern Florida.




Management policies relating conservation, protection and use of natural resources must include the human dimension in the equation. This map presents the geographic spread of a few of the socioeconomic parameters essential in developing a range of management strategies that directly or may indirectly affect the populace. This can also be used in the context of coral reef management.