Bellwood_et_al_2004

Bellwood_et_al_2004 - Confronting the coral reef crisis D R Bellwood 1 T P Hughes 1,2 C Folke 3,4&amp M Nystro m 3 1 Centre for Coral Reef

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Confronting the coral reef crisis D. R. Bellwood 1 , T. P. Hughes 1,2 , C. Folke 3,4 & M. Nystro m 3 1 Centre for Coral Reef Biodiversity, Dept. of Marine Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia 2 Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, UMR CNRS 8046, Universite de Perpignan, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France 3 Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden 4 Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................... The worldwide decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of current management practices. Confronting large-scale crises requires a major scaling-up of management efforts based on an improved understanding of the ecological processes that underlie reef resilience. Managing for improved resilience, incorporating the role of human activity in shaping ecosystems, provides a basis for coping with uncertainty, future changes and ecological surprises. Here we review the ecological roles of critical functional groups (for both corals and reef fishes) that are fundamental to understanding resilience and avoiding phase shifts from coral dominance to less desirable, degraded ecosystems. We identify striking biogeographic differences in the species richness and composition of functional groups, which highlight the vulnerability of Caribbean reef ecosystems. These findings have profound implications for restoration of degraded reefs, management of fisheries, and the focus on marine protected areas and biodiversity hotspots as priorities for conservation. T he overall goal of coral reef management is to sustain the ability of tropical reefs to provide the ecosystem goods and services (for example, fisheries, tourism, aesthetic and cultural values), upon which human welfare depends 1 . Although there have been some local successes, current management of reefs has failed to achieve this goal at a regional or global scale. Instead, coral reefs worldwide are in serious decline, owing primarily to over-harvesting 2,3 , pollution 4,5 , disease 6 and climate change 79 . Even the Great Barrier Reef, widely regarded as one of the most pristine coral reefs in the world, shows system- wide decline (Fig. 1). In many locations around the world, man- made stresses to coral reefs have exceeded their regenerative capacity, causing dramatic shifts in species composition and result- ing in severe economic loss. In a changing world, one must expect and learn to manage uncertainty 10 . In this review, we argue that the acceleration of human impacts on reef ecosystems requires a radical reassessment of the way these important marine resources are monitored and managed. We propose that the resilience of reef ecosystemsthat is,managed....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 08/06/2008 for the course ESM 260 taught by Professor Lenihan during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.

Page1 / 7

Bellwood_et_al_2004 - Confronting the coral reef crisis D R Bellwood 1 T P Hughes 1,2 C Folke 3,4&amp M Nystro m 3 1 Centre for Coral Reef

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online