Kelps are "large brown seaweeds or algae (Class Phaeophyceae) which belong to the Order Laminariales." Kelp forests, as defined by the folks at Kelp Watch, "occur in cold, nutrient-rich waters and are among the most beautiful and biologically productive habitats in the marine environment." Kelp forests provide a home for a wide array of marine animals. In addition, the aquatic greeneries have captured the rapt attention of humans. Tim McGee of TreeHugger.com explains, "The environmental impact of harvesting kelp has been studied, and though more research is needed, the outlook for a sustainable harvest is optimistic." But, of course, like almost every natural wonder on the planet, kelp forests are often under threat. Major issues of concern include "marine pollution and water quality, kelp harvesting and fisheries, invasive species and climate change."
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