In man’s valiant effort to save the earth’s coral reefs he will in turn be saving himself. These reefs are the globe’s largest living ecosystems. This bio-diverse community under the sea is a unique culture, surviving in symbiotic relationships all formed in part to one originating single living organism, comprised of microscopic layers of calcium carbonate in living cells known as coral. This living reef in turn provides both food and shelter for a vast array of sea life that is dependent on the coral life for survival. How humans will choose to oversee these debilitating factors and control the threats to this ecosystem balance in the sea will be not only the success or the demise of the world’s delicate coral reefs but also will eventually determine the same fate for mankind.
Many threats exist for the survival of the Earth’s coral reefs including the greatest threat being human lifestyle and pollution by-products. Global warming and increased sea temperature, higher carbon emissions, pollutions, organic and non-organic chemical and waste run off, over fishing, blast and chemical fishing, changes to the atmosphere, ultra violet light, acidification, coral mining, tourism, and much more are weakening and stressing the reef’s bio-diverse habitat and threatening all species world-wide.
In a race to save the reefs and curb further destruction they are under close worldwide scrutiny with heightened protection practices and reef conservation education and management systems all being developed and put into practice around the globe. The immediate need for a reduction in carbon emission and global warming are recognized along with the reductions of pollution and the problems of unethical and over fishing, with many countries and global commitments underway.
Designating and protecting these coral sites is not enough. The studies and research necessary to understand this diverse delicate habitat and its affect on human life is paramount. On a worldwide level the United Nations gathers world leaders in regard to climate change and scientists for coral reef targeted research with recommendations and pressure for change in practices destroying the ocean habitats. Coastal management arrangements between governments and communities are positively affecting stewardship of the seas and the environment as a whole and fishing regulations commercially and for pleasure are having an impact.
Institutes and Foundations to save the coral reefs world-wide are collaborating in efforts to lobby governments, industry and educators to create firm policies with hard and fast goals to assess the needs of the suffering global reef community’s bio-diversity at grave risk of full depletion and devastation.
Currently in 2009 efforts are underway to declare the world’s largest marine reserve encompassing the “Coral Triangle Initiative”, involving many levels of international governments and multi-nations in an urgent effort to stop the catastrophic decline in the world’s coral reefs. This initiative is hailed as one the most important marine conservation measures ever taken in the world offering an attempt to address not only the safeguarding and conservation of marine and coastal resources but also to support nation building and food security for the global community.
Coral reefs remain some the world’s most threatened ecosystems with scientists reporting the earth could lose up to 70% of the reefs by mid century. It will take international science, industry, government and individuals committed to save the reefs and in turn possibly save the globe.