Status of Coral Reefs in South Asia: Bangladesh, Chagos, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka

1. Recovery of South Asian coral reefs since the 1998 mass bleaching has been patchy; Chagos has shown particularly good recovery, reefs in the western atoll chain of the Maldives and Bar Reef in Sri Lanka have also recovered relatively well, while many reefs near Sri Lanka and reefs in the eastern atoll chain of the Maldives have shown little or no recovery; 2. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami caused significant reef damage at some sites (e.g. Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and reversed some recovery after 1998 (as in parts of Sri Lanka). The tsunami damage will not be long lasting, except for reefs uplifted out of the water, or buried under sediments; 3. Direct human stresses are the main cause of reef degradation near dense human populations. This is being compounded by climate change stress; 4. Stressed reefs have reduced resistance or resilience to climate stress and will provide fewer services and products for poor coastal communities with a high dependence on coral reefs; 5. More efforts are required to assess ecological and socioeconomic status and trends to improve management effectiveness. Application of resilience principles in ecosystem and resource management is required to address the needs of coastal communities and conserve reef resources.
Tamelander Jerker , Rajasuriya Arjan .
coral reefs