Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory captures an impressive display of natural and man-made landmarks where the Netherlands meets the North Sea.
The man-made infrastructure was designed to help protect the low-lying country from rising sea levels, while the natural wetlands serve as a biodiversity hotspot.
The world’s largest system of unbroken mud flats, the Wadden Sea, supports 10,000 species of plants and animals, including harbor seals and Eurasian spoonbills. The sea extends along the coasts of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
According to NASA, the Wadden Sea provides a critical resting and feeding place for millions of birds as they make their yearly migration along the East Atlantic Flyway.
The coastline of the Netherlands consists of sandy beaches and estuaries of long rivers. The country was dealing with sea-level rise and river flooding long before global warming became an issue for the rest of the world.
Due to a dense population, along with intensive use of the sea and area surrounding it, there have been various environmental issues affecting the sea’s ecosystems. Adverse environmental issues in the Netherlands – such as overfishing and dumping – have led to a number of efforts to prevent degradation.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
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