Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems that are vital to the welfare of large human populations throughout the tropical world. Coral reefs and tropical marine ecosystems are facing increasing stress from a variety of causes including over-exploitation, land based sources of marine pollution and severe events including storms and tsunamis. They are also highly vulnerable to climate change, with 16% of the world’s reef suffering serious damage during the global bleaching event of 1998. Climate Change is now recognized as one of the most serious long term threats to the biodiversity and services provided by tropical marine ecosystems. Globally, the coral reef management community is recognizing the need for science and monitoring in dealing with the growing threat of climate change and coral bleaching in ecologically important areas. A broad base of support has grown to improve management of coral reefs under this threat, including through the development of research and monitoring techniques and outcomes directly applicable to and benefiting management. The use of resilience principles in coral reef management is being increasingly promoted as they combine a strongly precautionary approach with proactive and scientifically testable interventions to maintain ecosystem and societal health.
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