Policy ForumEcology

Are U.S. Coral Reefs on the Slippery Slope to Slime?

Science  18 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5716, pp. 1725-1726
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104258

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Summary

Conservation of U.S. coral reefs has been sidetracked by the partial implementation of management plans without clearly achievable goals. Historical ecology reveals global patterns of coral reef degradation that provide a framework for reversing reef decline with ecologically meaningful metrics for success. The authors of this Policy Forum urge action now to address multiple threats simultaneously, because the harmful effects of stressors like overfishing, pollution, poor land-use practices, and global warming are interdependent. Prompt implementation of proven, practical solutions would lead to both short- and long-term benefits, including the return of keystone species and the economic benefits they entail.