World Atlas of Coral Reefs

This text provides a detailed and definitive account of the current state of our planet's coral reefs. With maps, descriptive texts and images by experts, this full-colour atlas should be a valid resource for anyone interested in these vital environments.
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By Mark D. Spalding, Edmund P. Green and Corinna Ravilious - published in 2001

Beautiful and highly productive, coral reefs rival even the tropical rainforests in terms of diversity. They provide a critical source of food for millions of people. Encircling tropical islands, they provide protection from the worst ravages of tropical storms. They have also become a beloved destination for those seeking solace on tropical shores, or adventure, diving into the world of the coral reef, whilst providing a new source of income and employment for some of the world's most impoverished nations.

For 20 years the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre has been a leading organisation in global efforts to document and conserve the world's coral reefs. The release of the World Atlas of Coral Reefs comes at a critical time. Coral reefs are now hemmed in by threats - over vast areas reefs are being degraded by the threats of pollution, sedimentation and unsustainable fishing. The spectre of climate change threatens further degradation on every reef world-wide. A decline in the health of coral reefs has implications for the lives of millions of people who depend upon them.

The World Atlas of Coral Reefs is an invaluable resource to be enjoyed and utilised by a broad audience ranging from global travellers to scientists, including all those with an interest in the natural history of coral reefs, resource managers, travel organisations and university students. The book also caters to the needs of amateur divers and boat owners as a key information resource.

Together with partners around the globe UNEP-WCMC has been compiling data on a broad range of coral reef related topics. These have been synthesised for the very first time in the World Atlas of Coral Reefs, presenting a unique compendium and a global base-line.

  • 424 pages, full colour, in a hard-bound volume
  • 94 maps, including global maps of biodiversity and reef stresses, regional maps showing 3-D bathymetry and high resolution maps showing reefs, mangroves, population centres, dive centres and protected areas.
  • Over 280 colour photographs, showing reefs, wildlife, people and places, including 84 photographs taken from space by Shuttle astronauts.
  • Introductory texts explaining the formation, structure and ecology of coral reefs; their various uses and abuses at the hands of humans; and the techniques used in coral reef mapping.
  • Detailed texts describing the distribution and status of coral reefs in every country.
  • Data tables listing information on biodiversity, human use, and protected areas. These include statistics on coral reef area, biodiversity, fish consumption, and threats.

The World Atlas of Coral Reefs is an invaluable resource to be enjoyed and utilised by a broad audience ranging from travellers to scientists, including all those with an interest in the natural history of coral reefs, resource managers, travel organisations and university students. The book also caters to the needs of amateur divers and boat owners as a key information resource.

High quality hardcover - 275mm x 260mm – 176 pages - University of California Press

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