Posted by: reefrescue | March 3, 2011

Coral the most endangered animal on the planet

The new study called Reefs at Risk Revisited is an update of a report first issued in 1998.  It makes use of newly-available data and higher-resolution satellite mapping technology.

 “Approximately 75 percent of the world’s coral reefs are currently threatened by a combination of local and global pressures,” said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  “If the current trends persist, the projection for this report tells us that 20 years from now, roughly half the reefs globally will experience thermo stress sufficient to induce severe bleaching in most years.  Within the next 50 years this percentage is expected to grow more than 95 per cent.”

 Coral reefs are essential for coastal protection, and for the food security and economic wellbeing of millions of people around the world.  They are an important source of protein, a potential source of pharmaceuticals, and as Lauretta Burke of the World Resources Institute points out, a valuable tourist attraction.

“Tourism is an important economic contributor in over 95 countries and territories around the world, it contributes over 20 percent of GDP in over 20 countries,” noted Burke.

Its somber assessment:  if the international community does not do anything now to save the coral reefs and their rich ecosystems, more than 90 percent of the world’s reefs will be threatened by 2030 and nearly all of them could be at risk in less than 40 years.

Read more.

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