World’s corals reefs are vanishing, report says

One thought on “World’s corals reefs are vanishing, report says”

  1. There is an interesting news IUCN release about the report (the 2008 Status of Coral Reefs of the World) at http://www.iucn.org/index.cfm?uNewsID=2408

    The full report is available (after free registration with Reefbase) at a link given on that page: http://www.reefbase.org/resource_center/publication/statusreport.aspx?refid=27173

    The first paragraph of the CNN story about “The world has lost almost one-fifth of its coral reefs according a new report” is less alarming when you realise that the previous report, the 2004 Status of the Coral Reefs of the World, made the same finding and the situation has not changed much since then.

    The synopsis at page 5 of the 2008 Status of the Coral Reefs of the World report summarises its findings as follows:

    Coral reefs of the world have effectively marked time since the last report in 2004. Some areas have recovered well after the climate change bleaching in 1998 and human damage; while the Indian Ocean tsunami, more bleaching in the Caribbean, and human pressures have slowed or reversed recovery.

    Estimates assembled through the expert opinions of 372 coral reef scientists and managers from 96 countries are that the world has effectively lost 19% of the original area of coral reefs; 15% are seriously threatened with loss within the next 10–20 years; and 20% are under threat of loss in 20–40 years. The latter two estimates have been made under a ‘business as usual’ scenario that does not consider the looming threats posed by global climate change or that effective future management may conserve more coral reefs. However, 46% of the world’s reefs are regarded as being relatively healthy and not under any immediate threats of destruction, except for the ‘currently unpredictable’ global climate threat. These predictions carry many caveats, as explained below.

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