Progress so far

Time Running Out for Coral Triangle

If the world's climate continues on its current trajectory, and nothing is done to check local environmental pressures, we will see the ecological collapse of the Coral Triangle, according to a study led by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Chair of the CRTR's Bleaching Working Group and released by the World Wide Fund for Nature and The University of Queensland.

The new study, The Coral Triangle and Climate Change: Ecosystems, People and Societies at Risk, presents two possible futures ("best case" and "worst case") for the coasts, reefs and seas of the Coral Triangle, based on the latest findings on climate change impacts.

The study, which was released at this month's World Ocean Conference in Indonesia, contains 10 policy steps which will help Coral Triangle countries avoid the crisis they face.

The Coral Triangle covers 100,000km and six countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, has more marine species than anywhere on the planet, and supports more than 100 million people.

From Indonesia in the west to Solomon Islands in the east and the Philippines in the north, more than three-quarters of the world's reef-building coral species and a third of the world's coral reef fish can be found within the waters.

Carrying messages to policymakers that are consistent with the CRTR paper published in Science Magazine 18 months ago, the authors of the Climate Change and Coral Triangle report say there needs to be a dramatic cut in global carbon emissions by 2050 to save the marine ecosystem.

Leaders from 70 countries, including Australia, met at the conference. CRTR delegates included Synthesis Panel Chair Dr Nancy Knowlton, Professor Hoegh-Guldberg and Professor Gomez. Copies of the Report can be downloaded from the WWF website at

Effective Reef Governance: Southeast Asia

CRTR field officers in training
Field officers training in Bali.
L to R: Tan Chun Hong (Malaysia), Retno Suratri (Indonesia), Heidi Schuttenberg (CRTR PhD Student), Sudrak Phongpheng (Thailand) and Anna Meneses (Philippines) (Image: Heidi Schuttenberg)
CRTR PhD student Heidi Schuttenberg is taking part in research to examine the different approaches to coral reef management in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. This information is being used to develop a systematic classification of management strategies commonly used in the region, which will become a useful planning tool and facilitate learning between sites.

Field officers from each of the study countries, including Heidi, are collecting data from 50 organisations involved in coral reef management. Participation in the study is part of Heidi’s doctoral research at James Cook University, Australia with additional technical support provided by CSIRO. The project is funded by the CRTR Program, the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility and a postgraduate fellowship awarded by the International Society for Reef Studies and The Ocean Conservancy.

For further information contact Heidi Schuttenberg at

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