What are Coral Reefs?

Over the last 240 million years, reefs have evolved into one of the largest and most complex ecosystems on the planet.

The reefs are home to more than 4,000 species of fish, 700 species of coral, and thousands of other plant and animal life.

 

Scientists estimate that, in total, more than one million species of plants and animals are associated with the coral reef ecosystem.

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Why are they so important?

Tropical coral reefs are very productive ecosystems. They are not only supporting biodiversity, they are also of immense value to humankind.

 

Coral reefs are the ocean’s lungs, provide human societies with resources and services worth $375 billion each year, support over 500 million people all over the world for food, protection and jobs.

 

Coral reefs also buffer shorelines against waves, storms, floods and erosion, and they are important sources of new medicines being developed. 

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A COASTAL PROTECTION

Reefs occupy only 0.2% of the oceans. However, they protect more than 150 000 kilometers of coastline in more than 100 countries and territories. They are absorbing wave energy barrier and contribute to the reduction of coastal erosion.

AN HABITAT

Scientists estimate that over one million plant and animal species are associated with coral reefs are home to more than 25% of marine species. Corals are also the basis for the formation of other ecosystems.

A FOOD RESOURCE

More than 850 million people live within 100 kilometers of coral reefs and are likely to benefit from ecosystem services associated. Reefs “well managed” can indeed give between 5 and 15 tonnes of fish and shellfish per square kilometer.

AN ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE

Millions of people around the world also depend on coral for their employment. According to one estimate, the annual total net income of coral reefs in the world is 29, 8 billion dollars.

A TOURISM WEALTH

Coral reefs are often the key element of the economy in tropical regions that they harbor. More than 100 countries benefit from tourism related to reefs that contributes more than 30% of export earnings in more than 20 countries.

A MEDICAL FUTURE

The reef organisms are used in the treatment of diseases such as certain cancers such as leukemia, HIV, cardiovascular diseases, ulcers or bone grafts. Only a tiny fraction of reef organisms was sampled. The potential for new drug discovery is simply huge.

BUT CORAL REEFS ARE AT RISK

Three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs are in danger of dying due to water pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, disease, global climate change, and ship groundings. The rapid decline of these complex ecosystems has significant social, economic and environmental impacts around the world.

 

In the last 40 years in the Coral Triangle, we’ve lost 40% 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. What’s going to happen when we exceed two or four or six?

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ISSUES

THE CORAL TRIANGLE

The Coral Triangle is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world. The Coral Triangle has more biodiversity than anywhere else in the world: 76% of coral species and 56% of coral reef fish in the world. But the coral triangle is today at risk.

FRAGILE ECOSYSTEM

Over the past 40 years we have lost 40% of coral reefs and mangroves in the Coral Triangle and it is only due to an increase of 0.7 ° C of the temperature of the oceans. Despite their great economic and recreational value, human activities now threaten these critical habitats. If no action is taken to stop activities that threaten the rainforest of the oceans, 90% of reefs will be threatened by 2030 and nearly all reefs all by 2050.

LOCAL AND GLOBAL PRESSURES

More than 60% of the world’s reefs are threatened by direct and immediate ways through local and global pressures such as overfishing, destructive fishing, coastal development and pollution. The recent rise in the temperature of the oceans is a major cause of mass coral mortality resulting in a bleaching phenomenon.

SOLUTIONS

  • REGENERATE

    Restorate a coral reef restoration involving the local community that depends on it

  • PRESERVE

    Protect and manage the restored zone

  • EDUCATE

    Awareness and skills transfer programs

  • VALUATE

    Develop valuation tools for tourism, fisheries, biotechnologies, etc.

  • EMPOWER

    Autonomous program management by local stakeholders

The Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world. The Coral Triangle is a 6 million km ² area of sea and includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.

 

The Coral Triangle has more biodiversity than anywhere else in the world: 37% (2228) of coral species in the world, and 56% of coral reef fish in the Indo-Pacific region (4050).

 

More than 120 million people live in the Coral Triangle and rely on coral reefs for their food, their income and their protection against storms.

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Coral Reefs in France

France is the only country in the world to have three reefs in the world’s oceans.

 

Reefs and lagoons covering 57 557km2, averaging twice the land area of surfaces that surround it. 8 French communities overseas home nearly 10% and 20% of coral atolls in the world.

 

France holds as a global responsibility for conservation and sustainable management of reefs and mangroves and seagrass beds associated with them.

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What Coral Guardian is doing to protect them

Coral Guardian is empowering people to conserve coral reefs and its ecosystems and sustain community livelihoods by valuing biodiversity and education.

 

We restore damaged reef areas through coral reefs rehabilitation programs. Thanks to the construction of optimised artificial reefs, we make possible the return of lost biodiversity in this environment. 

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