Reefs at Risk Southeast Asia Analysis Announcement

Anita Daley adaley at
Wed Mar 6 22:39:48 EST 2002

Greetings Coral-listers-

On behalf of the World Resources Institute and the International Coral Reef
Action Network, I am pleased to inform you of the newly released Reefs at Risk
in Southeast Asia report.  The R at R SE Asia report is a publication of the
World Resources Institute in collaboration with the United Nations
Environment Programme- World Conservation and Monitoring Centre, the World
Fish Center and the International Coral Reef Action Network.

Following up the the 1998 global Reefs at Risk analysis, this R at R Southeast
Asia is the first in a series of regional analyses. (The next report will
focus on the Caribbean).  R at R SE Asia evaluates human pressures on coral
reefs in the region; integrates available information on coral reef status,
protection and management, and economic valuation of coral reefs; and
provides a country-by-country analysis of coral reefs across SE Asia.  The
analysis also includes key recommendations for conserving the reefs in the

The report can be ordered or downloaded from WRI's website.  For more
information please visit

I've pasted below some key findings from the report for your perusal.

Please send inquiries about the report to <marissa at>.


Anita Daley, International Coral Reef Information Network


Key findings of reefs at risk in Southeast Asia

Source: Reefs at risk in Southeast Asia

Biological endowment

Southeast Asia contains nearly 100,000 square kilometers of coral reefs,
almost 34 percent 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. Southeast Asia is also the global center of
biodiversity for coral reef fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. The region also
contains 51 of the world's 70 mangrove species and 23 of the 50 seagrass

Economic value

The economic value associated with coral reefs in Southeast Asia is
substantial. The value of the region's sustainable coral reef fisheries
alone is US$2.4 billion per year. In addition, coral reefs are vital to food
security, employment, tourism, pharmaceutical research, and shoreline
protection. The coral reefs of Indonesia and the Philippines provide annual
economic benefits estimated at US$1.6 billion and US$1.1 billion per year,

Threats to reefs

The heavy reliance on marine resources across Southeast Asia has resulted in
the overexploitation and degradation of many coral reefs, particularly those
near major population centers. The main threats include overfishing,
destructive fishing practices, and sedimentation and pollution from
land-based sources. Human activities now threaten an estimated 88 percent of
Southeast Asia's coral reefs, jeopardizing their biological and economic
value to society. For 50 percent of these reefs, the level of threat is
"high" or "very high." Only 12 percent of reefs are at low risk.

The Reefs at Risk project estimates that about 64 percent of the region's
reefs are threatened by overfishing, and 56 percent are threatened by
destructive fishing techniques. In addition, dredging, landfilling, mining
of sand and coral, coastal construction, discharge of sewage and other
activities associated with coastal development threaten about 25 percent of
the region's coral reefs. Sediment and pollution from deforestation and
agricultural activities threaten an estimated 20 percent of the region's

Over 90 percent of the coral reefs in Cambodia, Singapore, Taiwan, the
Philippines, Vietnam, China, and the Spratly Islands are threatened, and
over 85 percent of the reefs of Malaysia and Indonesia are threatened.
Indonesia and the Philippines together possess 77 percent of the region's
coral reefs and nearly 80 percent of all threatened reefs in the region.

Logging, destructive fishing practices, overfishing, and other activities
that are damaging to coral reefs may be lucrative to individuals in the
short-term. However, the net economic losses to society from diminished
coastal protection, tourism and sustainable fisheries usually outweigh the
short-term benefits. Over a 20-year period, current levels of blast fishing,
overfishing, and sedimentation could cost Indonesia and the Philippines more
than US$ 2.6 billion and US$ 2.5 billion, respectively.

Global climate change is also a significant threat to coral reefs in
Southeast Asia. Elevated sea-surface temperatures have resulted in more
severe and more frequent coral bleaching. The 1997-98 El Niño Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) event triggered the largest worldwide coral bleaching
event ever recorded. In Southeast Asia, an estimated 18 percent of the
region's coral reefs were damaged or destroyed.


Effective management is key to maintaining coastal resources, but, is
inadequate across much of the region. Some 646 marine protected areas (MPAs)
cover an estimated 8 percent of the coral reefs. Of the 332 MPAs whose
management effectiveness could be determined, only 14 percent were rated as
effectively managed, 48 percent have partially effective management, and 38
percent have inadequate management.

The lack of information

Despite widespread recognition that coral reefs are severely threatened,
information about the status and nature of the threats to specific reef
areas is limited. This lack of information inhibits effective decisionmaking
concerning coastal resources. The Reefs at Risk project was developed to
address this deficiency by creating standardized indicators that raise
awareness about threats to coral reefs and to highlight the linkages between
human activity and coral reef condition.


Anita Daley
International Coral Reef Information Network Manager

The Coral Reef Alliance
2014 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 848-0110 ext. 313
(510) 848-3720 fax

"Working together to keep coral reefs alive."

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