Coral reefs provide ecosystem services and direct economic benefits for 100s of millions of people across more than one hundred countries worldwide. However, throughout the past few decades, reefs have been severely degraded by a variety of anthropogenic stressors. Reef degradation is due to threats associated with human activities both local (e.g. overfishing and pollution) and global (i.e. ocean warming and acidification due to rising greenhouse gas emissions). The future of coral reefs now hangs in the balance.
The coming year and decade likely offer the last chance to change the trajectory of coral reefs from one towards world-wide collapse to one towards slow but steady recovery. Changing the trajectory requires international, regional, national, and local entities to work together. The mission of International Coral Reef Society (ICRS) is to promote the acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge to secure coral reefs for future generations, and includes informing policies that protect coral reefs.
The ICRS thus assembled a writing team, lead by Dr. Nancy Knowlton, to summarize the science regarding the current state of coral reefs, and outline the actions and policies needed to conserve and restore reefs through this century. The outcome of this work is Rebuilding Coral Reefs: A Decadal Grand Challenge. This report provides the stark realities of the threats facing coral reefs, and clear guidance for the numerous discussions and negotiations taking place at the global level.
This science policy event provides an opportunity to present the paper and engage in a dialogue between the authors and policy actors.
2:00PM – 3:30PM CEST: Presentations and audience Q&A
3:30PM – 4:00PM CEST: Press conference