By 2030, more than 90% of coral reefs could be threatened by local activities like overfishing and global-wide events like climate change, say researchers at the World Resources Institute.
Destruction of these valuable ecosystems would be a devastating environmental and economic tragedy. While only 0.1% of total ocean area, coral reefs host around 25% of marine life. They also help drive economic activity from fishing, tourism and help protect communities from storm surges — providing a benefit that stretches far beyond the oceans.
Different reefs are at risk for different reasons. The World Resources Institute has been working on tracking damages to these ecosystems for the last three years, providing detailed maps and data on the health of reefs in different regions of the world.
Researchers at WRI just put together a fascinating video using Google Earth maps to illustrate how reefs in the Caribbean, Middle East, Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific are fairing — and what kind of impact that could have to communities in those regions.
At 14 minutes long, the video is quite long. But it’s worth a watch. If you don’t have time to see the whole thing, check out the range of maps and charts on the health of these reefs.
For more background on the fate of coral reefs, see:
- Globe’s coral reefs suffer second worst bleaching on record during 2010
- “The end is in sight for the world’s coral reefs,” explains the former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science