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Rising sea levels are affecting agricultural production.

Challenges and Threats

Construction and road building activities cause erosion and sedimentation.Sedimentation has completely smothered the reef in Airai Bay, a formerly important fishing site for the local community.Fires, both in the local forest and like this one, in a local dump, are a major threat to Babeldaob.

It is the very presence of Palau's diverse and abundant natural resources that creates many of Palau's current threats. Tourism opportunities and a growing population create development pressures that threaten the very livelihood of the country. Earthmoving activities lead to land clearing and erosion that threaten terrestrial and marine habitat quality. Development leads to direct habitat loss, and road building leads to forest fragmentation and change in flora and fauna composition. Agriculture, which offers a beneficial alternative to construction, also poses the threats of fire, soil loss, and pesticide and fertilizer runoff, all on soil that is fragile, vulnerable, and prone to erosion. Dredging and filling operations are directly tied to the loss of critical habitats such as mangroves. Mangroves and other habitats are also being degraded by solid and hazardous waste disposal. Invasive plant and animal species threaten endemics. Poaching is also a threat to endangered animals, and overfishing remains a concern. As an island nation, Palau is extremely vulnerable to the effects of global warming. For instance, after the 1998 El Nino event, approximately one-third (1/3) of Palau's coral reefs were killed from bleaching, and up to 90% of Palau's Acropora species (a type of hard coral) died in some sites.

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