World’s most important coral region in danger of being wiped out

May 13th, 2009 - 12:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 13 (ANI): A new report has said that the Coral Triangle near Indonesia, which is the world’s most important coral region, is in danger of being wiped out by the end of this century unless fast action is taken.

According to a report by BBC News, the international conservation group WWF (Worldwide fund for Nature) warns that 40 percent of reefs in the Coral Triangle have already been lost.

The area is shared between Indonesia and five other south-east Asian nations and is thought to contain 75 percent of the world’s coral species.

It is likened to the Amazon rainforest in terms of its biodiversity.

“Up until now, we haven’t realized how quickly this system is changing,” said the report’s chief author, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

“In the last 40 years in the Coral Triangle, we’ve lost 40 percent of coral reefs and mangroves - and that’s probably an underestimate. We’ve fundamentally changed the way the planet works in terms of currents and this is only with a 0.7-degree change in terms of temperature,” he added.

“What’s going to happen when we exceed two or four or six?” he pondered.

Avoiding a worst-case scenario would need significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and better controls on fishing and coastal areas, according to the report.

The region contains three-quarters of all coral species.

The Coral Triangle covers 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, but contains a third of all the world’s coral, and three-quarters of its coral reef species.

According to Professor Hoegh-Gudberg, if it goes, an entire eco-system goes with it, and that has serious consequences for its ability to tackle climate change.

“Pollution, the inappropriate use of coastal areas, these are destroying the productivity of ocean which is plummeting right now. That is the system that traps CO2 - 40 percent of CO2 goes into the ocean,” he said.

“Now if we interrupt that, the problems on planet earth become even greater,” said Prof Hoegh-Gudberg. (ANI)

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