Traditional datu cactus (Ritterocereus griseus) fences reduce run-off rates and transport of sediment and nutrients on hillsides in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

Most reef building corals require seawater with low nutrients and sediment loads to thrive. On coral reefs around the world, increases in run-off and its constituent pollutants are damaging and killing reef building corals due to poor coastal zone management practices. In the marine environment, mangroves provide protection for coral reefs by filtering sediments and absorbing nutrients from run-off. On Bonaire, Ritterocereus griseus, a common cactus species, has the potential to act as a natural filter, analogous to mangroves in the marine environment, on hillsides where run-off is problematic.