Increasing pressures from climate change will reach a tipping point in less than a decade triggering a significant decline in the health of the planet's coral reef ecosystems according to the findings in an international report issued today.
Released by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and the International Coral Reef Initiative, international governmental and scientific partnerships, "Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008" provides both good and bad news while sounding the call for urgent global action to respond to climate change.
Coral reefs continue to be threatened from direct human activities of pollution and over-fishing, but now the threat of climate change is being recognized as the major threat to the future of reefs around the world. One fifth of the Earth's coral reefs have disappeared since 1950, and a NOAA authored report issued in July states that more that that nearly half of U.S. coral reef ecosystems are considered to be in "poor" or "fair" condition.
"Unless the world gets serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next few years, it is likely there will be massive bleaching and deaths of corals around the world," notes the report's lead editor and global coral authority Clive Wilkinson who coordinates the Global Coral Monitoring Network in Australia. "This will have significant impacts on the lives of the people in developing countries who are dependent on reefs for food, for tourism, and for protecting the land they live on."
This status report was put together from 370 contributors in 96 countries and states and is the most authoritative report on the world's coral reefs. The report presents regional assessments of the health coral reef ecosystems found throughout the world, the threats they face, and recommendations for action. A new feature of the 2008 reporting is publication of a separate report, "Socioeconomic Conditions along the World's Tropical Coasts: 2008," detailing
|Contact: Ben Sherman|