The world’s coral reefs have suffered terribly in 30 years, but are resilient: Study

What is the News?

Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network along with the Australian government has released a report titled “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020”.

Purpose of the Report: To highlight the main trends and recommendations to inform decision-making and strengthen ambition for the protection of coral reef ecosystems.

Key Highlights from the Study

Coral reefs have suffered terribly in the past three decades. For instance, the 1998 coral bleaching event killed 8% of the world’s coral. Subsequent events between 2009 and 2018 killed 14% of the world’s coral.

Most declines in global coral cover were associated with either rapid increase in sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly or sustained high SST anomaly.

Moreover, there were 20% more algae on the world’s coral reefs in 2019 than in 2010. The increase in the amount of algae was associated with declines in the amount of hard coral.

However, the increases in global coral cover between 2002 and 2009 and in 2019 offered hope. It showed that coral reefs globally remained resilient and could recover if conditions permitted.

For example, coral reefs in East Asia, which has 30% of the world’s coral reefs, had more coral on average in 2019 than they did in 1983. This, despite the area being affected by large-scale coral bleaching events during the last decade.

Recommendations from the study

Reducing local pressures on coral reefs to maintain their resilience would be critical in the years to come. 

Monitoring data collected in the field was also essential to understand the status of the trends in coral reef conditions.

Moreover, investments and developments of new technologies for coral reef protection is essential.

Source: This post is based on the article “The world’s coral reefs have suffered terribly in 30 years, but are resilient: Study” published in Down To Earth on 10th September 2021.

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