Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse of shallow water marine ecosystems but are being degraded worldwide by human activities and climate warming. Analyses of the geographic ranges of 3235 species of reef fish, corals, snails, and lobsters revealed that between 7.2 and 53.6 of each taxon have highly restricted ranges, rendering them vulnerable to extinction. Restricted-range species are clustered into centers of endemism, like those described for terrestrial taxa. The 10 richest centers of endemism cover 15.8 of the world's coral reefs (0.012 of the oceans) but include between 44.8 and 54.2 of the restricted-range species. Many occur in regions where reefs are being severely affected by people, potentially leading to numerous extinctions. Threatened centers of endemism are major biodiversity hotspots, and conservation efforts targeted toward them could help avert the loss of tropical reef biodiversity.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This KML layer includes key information on the natural and mixed World Heritage sites that were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as of 7 August 2012. The information comes from the latest version of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA).Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
These posters were designed to publicise the release of the World Atlas of Seagrasses and the World Atlas of Coral Reefs.Resource Type: Posters
South East Asia contains nearly 100,000 km2 of coral reefs, almost 34% of the world total. With over 600 of the almost 800 reef-building coral species, these reefs have the highest levels of marine biodiversity on earth. Heavy reliance on marine resources across South East Asia has resulted in the overexploitation and degradation of many coral reefs. An estimated 88% of them are threatened by human activity.Resource Type: Reports
Coral reefs are an integral part of the Caribbean fabric, threading along thousands of kilometres of coastline. Unfortunately, these valuable ecosystems are degrading rapidly under the mounting pressure of many human activities. Understanding the nature and extent of these threats and their likely economic impacts on the future productivity of Caribbean coral reefs is of central importance to conservation and planning efforts.
The Reefs at Risk in the Carribean project was launched to help protect and restore these valuable, threatened ecosystems by providing decision-makers and the public with information and tools to manage coastal habitats more effectively.
The threat posed to coral reefs by biological invasion is unlikely to diminish and should therefore be considered in analyses of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Over the past 10 years a number of studies and consultations have been carried out to develop and refine the Global Strategy for achieving a balanced, representative and credible World Heritage List that reflects the world’s diverse heritage. This review is an important addition to that process, focusing on the inter-related elements of biogeography, habitats and biological diversity that underpin much of what we consider ‘natural heritage’.Resource Type: Reports
This study reviews the biogeographic and biodiversity coverage of the current World Heritage network and identifies broad gaps. It also identifies priority sites for biodiversity conservation that may merit World Heritage listing in the future and reviews how these could help fill the existing gaps in the network.Resource Type: Reports
Global and regional coral reef area statistics are of considerable value in fields ranging from global environmental change to fisheries to conservation. Although widely quoted, Smith's 1978 figure of 600 000rkm2 is only an approximate calculation. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has prepared a new estimate of reef coverage by mapping emergent reef crest and very shallow reef systems. These data were rasterised, using 1rkm grid squares, as a means of reducing errors arising from variation in scale. Global and regional reef coverages were calculated from the resultant grid. The total global area is estimated at 255 000rkm2, considerably lower than many previous estimates. Variation in reef area estimates is, in part, a function of variation in reef definition.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The objectives of the World Heritage Convention are the identification, protection, conservation and presentation of the world's natural and cultural heritage and ultimately, the successful transmission of them to future generations. UNEP-WCMC and IUCN have undertaken a range of global and regional studies to support State Parties to the Convention in the selection of potential sites, and to assist in the evaluation of nominations.Resource Type: Reports
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