[Coral-List] US Coral Reef Dependance

Miguel G Figuerola Hernandez miguel.figuerola at upr.edu
Wed Jun 14 15:15:38 EDT 2017

Dear listers,

I wrote a couple weeks back requesting information about national numbers
of coral reefs. I am extremelly gratefull to all of those who replied and
helped me focus my search. I wanted to share the numbers I have so far with
the coral list. These are very interesting, in my opinion and help us think
about ways to put coral reef conservation into context with other human
dependencies and issues. Human cultural and economic shifts challenge the
adaptation of these ecosystem to global environmental change.

This is what I have found:

   - The U.S has jurisdiction over 13,116 km2 or 4.9% of the world's coral
   reefs. This is a high-end estimate based on data from the UN WCMC data-set,
   2010 (14). Other estimates from Spalding (2001) show 3,770 km2 or 1.33%.
   Rothman et al. (2005) showed a huge area but that include all ocean floor
   above the 10 and 100 phatom contour of nautical charts (1,3,13, 22).

   - In US coral jurisdictions there are approximately 16 million humans
   living in coastal counties and/or municipalities with coral reefs, making
   up about 62% of the population of all US coral jurisdictions. (1,4,5,6,8)

   - In US coral jurisdictions, there are approximately 3 million humans
   who are protected by coral reefs from storm surge/flooding and that
   participate of reef-based fisheries, making up 19% of the population of
   coastal counties. (6,8,10,11,12)

   - Only 0.9% of the US population (3 million humans) are actually
   protected by coral reefs from storm surge/flooding and participate of
   reef-based fisheries. That amount of people is equivalent to the entire
   Puerto Rico population! (2,10,11,12)

   - The global community who depend on coral reefs for all their ecosystem
   services is approximately 176 million humans larger than the entire U.S
   population (35% larger). (2,7)

   - In 2017, approx. 55 million people visited U.S States and Territories
   with coral reefs via cruises and air travel (domestic and international)..
   (1, 15-21)

   - In Hawaii and Florida, around 10 million tourists visit coastal areas
   within 30 km from coral reefs yearly, making up around 58% and 11% of all
   coastal tourism visitations in those States, respectively (16,17, 9).

You can access the compiled numbers, references, and a brief explanation on
the basic calculations here:


Please, feel free to contact me if you have any questions on the sources
and calculations to the the above statements.

Thanks and a pleasure to share this information with you all!

*Miguel G. Figuerola*
Dept. Marine Sciences
University of Puerto Rico,

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