Less visible, but no less important, is the essential role played by coral reefs in providing habitat for a vast array of marine species which contribute to a complex food chain that extends across the oceans.
The threats to this natural capital from increased CO2 emissions generated on a global scale simply raise the urgency for local reef managers and policy-makers to take responsibility for the reducible risk to coral reefs, such as over-fishing, pollution and unsustainable coastal development.
However, this is unlikely to happen, at the intensity and scale required, unless industrialised nations make funds available to assist the most vulnerable coral reef states manage these reducible risks.
Dr Hatziolos says a range of policy and management tools are readily available, some of which have been refined through support from the CRTR Program, and no time should be lost in applying them more widely and effectively.
These tools include coastal zone management, co-management arrangements between governments and local communities to foster effective stewardship, integrated catchment approaches to managing water quality and environmental flows, enforcement and compliance with fishing regulations, restoration of reefs and coastal vegetation and sustainable tourism, she says.
|Contact: Mark Paterson|
Coral Reef Targeted Research Program