Decades of climate breakdown saw 14 percent of coral reefs disappear – Global Issues


In the Sixth Status of the World’s Corals: 2020 Report, experts from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, funded by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), collected data from more than 300 scientists from 73 countries, over a 40-year period, including two million individual observations.

It turned out that almost always, sharp declines in coral cover correspond to rapid increases in sea surface temperature, indicating their vulnerability to temperature spikes, and found that this phenomenon is likely to increase as the planet warms further.

Priceless ecosystems

Dynamic underwater coral cities support up to 800 different hard coral species and are home to more than 25 percent of all marine life, according to the report.

Soft corals bend and sway between the steep mountains of hard corals, providing additional homes for fish, snails and other marine life.

And reefs are home to the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem in the world, making them some of the most biologically complex and valuable in the world.

coral bleaching

However, when the water gets too warm, the corals release their colorful micro-algae, giving them a skeletal white color. Some glowed, by naturally producing a protective layer of neon pigments before bleaching.

Bleaching can be thought of as the ocean version of the ‘canary in the coral mine’ as it demonstrates the susceptibility of corals to dangerous and deadly conditions. Status of Coral Reefs explained.

Acquisition of algae

A shift from coral to algae-dominated reefs reduces the architectural complexity and structural integrity of these habitats, making them less biodiverse and providing fewer goods and services to people.

According to the report, there has been a steady decline in hard coral cover since 2010 with the worst effects in South Asia, Australia, the Pacific, East Asia, the Western Indian Ocean, the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Appreciate coral

Although coral reefs cover just 0.2 percent of the seafloor in more than 100 countries, they support the safety, coastal protection, wellbeing, food and economic security of hundreds of millions of people, the report said.

And the value of the goods and services they provide is estimated at $2.7 trillion per year, including $36 billion in coral reef tourism.

However, coral reefs are threatened by climate change, ocean acidification and land-based pollution; as well as agricultural sediments, marine pollution and overfishing.

It is essential to maintain the integrity and resilience of coral reef ecosystems for the well-being of tropical coastal communities worldwide, and a critical part of the solution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the UN said. Status of Coral Reefs.

Reef recovery

Despite these bleak assessments, there is still hope for coral reefs. They are remarkably resilient and can recover in the absence of large-scale disturbances.

After massive coral bleaching in 1998, hard coral cover recovered to pre-1998 levels within a decade.

If we stop and reverse ocean warming through global collaboration, we give coral reefs a chance to bounce back from the brink. However, nothing less than ambitious, immediate and well-funded climate and ocean action is needed to save the world’s coral reefs,” the report said.

This year marks the beginning of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, campaigns designed to help protect our seas through scientific advances and revive the planet’s declining ecosystems. to blow in.

In addition, political leaders will attend the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Monday and again from April 25 to May 8 next year.

There, world governments will negotiate a post-2020 global framework for biodiversity to map how humanity will live in harmony with nature over the next decade.



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