Summary Status of Coral Reef of the World: 2008

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Holger Anlauf
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Registriert: 01 Apr 2008 08:59
Wohnort: Berlin

Summary Status of Coral Reef of the World: 2008

Beitrag von Holger Anlauf » 15 Dez 2008 16:15

kurze Zusammenfassung des Berichts zum Status der Korallen- global.

Expert opinion of 372 coral reef scientists and managers from 96 countries and states is that:
• The world has 'effectively lost' 19% of the original area of coral reefs since 1950;
• 15% of coral reefs are in a 'Critical' state with loss possible within the next 10 to 20 years;
• 20% are seriously Threatened' with loss predicted in 20 to 40 years; and
• 46% of the world's reefs are regarded äs healthy and not under any immediate threat of destruction...except for 'currently unpredictable' global climate threats.
'Effectively lost' means that these coral reefs are not functioning because there are: few live corals and the remaining corals are either broken, diseased or covered in sediment; fish populations are seriously over-fished with very few large predators and algal grazing fish; there is clear evidence of pollution with poor quality, turbid water; and reefs are being over-grown with macro-algae, sponges or other organisms favoured by polluted waters. This also means that the 500 million people dependent on these coral reefs could be deprived of reef goods and Services in food, coastal protection and income from tourism in the near future.
Predictions of 'Critical' and Threatened' are based on a 'business äs usual' scenario assuming that human stresses will continue to increase and no dramatic improvements will occur in coral reef management. Moreover, these predictions do not factor in the threats of global climate change -which are predicted to be inevitable, but without clear timelines.
The global climate change threats of ocean warming, increasing ocean acidification and more intense tropical storms are now regarded by the world's leading scientists and managers äs the greatest threats to all of the world's coral reefs; unless urgent action is taken soon to reverse the rate of greenhouse emissions, we are faced with massive losses of coral reefs around the world. This will mean extinction of species, diminished food supplies, loss of tourism potential and a reduction of coastal protection for low lying areas near coral reefs.
Since the last GCRMN report was issued in 2004, overall the coral reefs of the world have effectively 'marked time' because of a near balance between reef recovery and degradation.
Reefs in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific have recovered well after the climate change induced bleaching in 1998 and human damage. But the Indian Ocean tsunami, more bleaching, and human pressures have slowed or reversed recovery on many of these reefs. Those in the Caribbean have been less fortunate, due to the effects of the 2005 mass bleaching.
The critical issue emerging from the 2008 report is that about 500 million people have some dependence on coral reefs for food resources and supplementary income from fishing, coastal protection, building materials and income from tourism. Of these people about 30 million are almost totally dependent on coral reefs - including those who live on very low lying coral reef Islands.

Holger Anlauf, Dipl. Biologe, Coral Reef Ecology,
Ocean Acidification

Red Sea Environmental Center
Sirena Beach, El Qudim Bay
Subex Diving Center
El Quseir, Red Sea, Egypt


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