How often do we think of seaweed’s critical role in the ecosystem? How much do we know about the disappearance of underwater forests? Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn asks us to think about the deforestation that happens offshore.
In the summer leading into 2016 – which would become the equal hottest year ever recorded by NASA – experts estimate around 95% of original kelp forests disappeared from the east coast of Tasmania. Cayne Layton, a researcher at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and a vocal advocate for wild kelp forests, says, 'If we’d lost 95% of our forest on land, there’d be public outrage, there’d be riots in the street. Unfortunately, it’s under the water and it’s somewhat out of sight, out of mind.'
(Note: This essay is part of Island’s compelling and convicting Australian Nature Writing Project series.)