全球珊瑚礁拉警報 2600位科學家籲立即救援 | 環境資訊中心

全球珊瑚礁拉警報 2600位科學家籲立即救援

2012年07月12日
摘譯自2012年7月9日ENS澳洲,凱恩斯報導;沈瑞筠編譯;蔡麗伶審校

加勒比海島國聖露西亞海域的珊瑚礁(Photo © Chuck Savall / Marine Photobank)數千名海洋科學家9日聯合發出警告,因為海水溫度及化學性質急遽改變,全球珊瑚礁正面臨嚴重的毀滅危機。科學家說,自從5500萬年前一度爆發珊瑚礁危機至今,現在海洋正面臨最劇烈變化的階段。

2012年達爾文獎得主、史密森尼學會資深榮譽科學家Jeremy Jackson表示,「這不僅僅是海洋版的護樹訴求而已,珊瑚礁的未來,實在是全人類未來的核心問題」。

四年一度的國際珊瑚礁年會今年(第12屆)在凱恩斯舉辦,2600位國際頂尖海洋學者共同發表了前所未見的「氣候變遷與珊瑚礁共同聲明」。Jackson在會議中指出,「我們應該認知到,對珊瑚礁好、就是對我們自己(人類)好。」

聲明中強烈要求全球努力克服珊瑚礁生態系面臨的威脅,可嘉惠賴其為生的千萬人生計;並呼籲採取措施,因應逐步擴大的各種現象,包括海水升溫導致珊瑚白化、海洋酸化、過漁和陸源污染等問題。

當高溫導致珊瑚失去共生藻或光合色素而變白,即發生珊瑚白化。如果時間過長或是更嚴重的話,將導致珊瑚死亡。

澳洲大堡礁上健康的鹿角珊瑚 (Photo © Pete Faulkner / Marine Photobank)Jackson指出,過去35年中,加勒比海的珊瑚覆蓋已失去75-85%,即使世界上保護得最好珊瑚礁生態系──大堡礁,過去50年也已失去一半的珊瑚覆蓋率。科學家警告,氣候變遷是這些現象的幕後推手,氣候變遷也導致頻繁的乾旱,農業歉收和海平面急遽的上升,這些會造成巨大的社會問題。

珊瑚礁提供全世界數千萬沿海地區人口食物來源及生計,也扮演自然防波堤的角色。每年估計至少提供1700-3750億美元的等值商品及服務。

共同聲明提到,到本世紀末,以目前溫室氣體二氧化碳的排放速度,海面溫度至少上升2-3℃、海平面上升將高達1.7米、海洋將因額外的二氧化碳溶解在海水導致pH值從8.1減少至7.9以下,風暴的頻率與強度將會增加。

詹姆士庫克大學珊瑚礁研究部門主任、也是本研討會的召集人Terry Hughes教授表示,「全世界有機會來改善氣候變遷,但這個機會正急速消失。當論及到珊瑚礁時,預防絕對勝於治療。如果我們比我們現在做的更為仔細照顧大堡礁,它將可以繼續支撐一個充滿活力的旅遊業。」

「不幸的是,在昆士蘭州,因急於得到最多的石化燃料,環境議題已遭忽視。雖然澳洲在建立海洋保護區已有很大的進展,但海洋公園卻無法阻擋陸源污染、或降低航運及港口開發的影響、或減少溫室氣體排放。」

美國國家海洋保護區西北夏威夷群島海域中,珊瑚礁上的一張廢棄漁網 (Photo courtesy NOAA/NMFS)加州史丹佛大學霍普金斯海洋研究站主任Stephen Palumbi表示,政府必須作出強有力的承諾來減少溫室氣體排放,同時解決當地的威脅,如貧困土地的開發和不永續的漁業,這些作為可以改善珊瑚礁的健康。他說:「地方行動為我們爭取更多的時間來處理與氣候變遷的更大的問題」,包括重建魚類族群、減少污染排放和建立更多的海洋保護區等訴求。

國際珊瑚礁研究學會會長、夏威夷大學學者Robert Richmond表示,共同聲明不僅是另一個關於珊瑚礁面臨諸多問題文件,更進一步,它聚焦於連結最好的科學家及政策制訂者,落實民選官員與傳統領袖的參與與支持。

美國科學部門研發「珊瑚白化預警系統」

加勒比海珊瑚礁的珊瑚白化  (Photo © Christine Loew / Marine Photobank)這次在凱恩斯保育中心舉行的研討會為期5日,共有來自80國2500多人與會。在研討會的主題演講中,美國官方公佈預測大規模珊瑚白化重大進展。新的季節性生態預測系統可提前四個月預測白化的機率。

美國海洋暨大氣總署(NOAA)代表Jane Lubchenco表示,「白化預警系統的進展,代表在我們在拯救極為重要的珊瑚礁系統的努力上,一個新的里程碑。」

NOAA新的監測衛星,每天可傳回全世界可能導致珊瑚白化的海水溫度資料,而且監測資訊更為精細,可到5公里的尺度。相較於原本每周僅回傳兩次,最細到50公里尺度的資料;新的衛星精細度相當提高了100倍、且提供的資料更頻繁、更大量。(更正註

NOAA和國際合作夥伴的環境衛星結合氣象衛星所提供的數據產出的新資訊產品,相較於舊產品,每天提供10-50倍以上的觀測數據。

Lubchenco表示「現今珊瑚礁的狀態應喚醒每個人來關切。對全球來說珊瑚礁生態系是非常重要的,健康的珊瑚礁是當地社區的命脈。他們的續存是全球社會的道義責任。」

珊瑚大三角  9成珊瑚不保

菲律賓阿波島附近的軟珊瑚,遭受炸魚摧殘後,正由在地團體復育中 (Photo by Arne Kuilman)在研討會上一份新的報告也指出,珊瑚大三角(Coral Triangle)中高達90%的珊瑚礁中正面臨當地人類活動加上氣候變化的雙重威脅,受威脅程度遠比全球平均的60%來得高。

珊瑚大三角範圍涵蓋印尼、馬來西亞、巴布亞紐幾內亞、菲律賓、索羅門群島和東帝汶等6國。過漁、流域污染、沿海開發及海水暖化導致的珊瑚白化正在摧毀珊瑚礁生態系。

這份「再論瀕危中的珊瑚大三角」報告由世界資源研究所(WRI)及美國國際開發署(USAID)所贊助的珊瑚大三角支持伙伴所發表。伙伴主要包含了三個大的環境組織:世界自然基金會、自然保育協會(Nature Conservancy)及保育國際(Conservation International)來協助珊瑚大三角六國政府來推行珊瑚大三角倡議計畫。

珊瑚大三角有全世界近30%的珊瑚礁及超過3千種魚類聚集在這片海域,遠多於世界上其他地方的兩倍。

根據該報告,珊瑚大三角橫跨部分島嶼東南亞(insular Southeast Asia)及西太平洋,已確定是全球海洋生物多樣性中心,擁有世上最高的珊瑚多樣性-包括76%珊瑚種類、世上多樣性最高珊瑚礁魚類(37%)。

超過1.3億人生活在靠珊瑚礁生態系提供食物、就業及旅遊收入的地區。

本報告主要作者之一、世界資源協會的研究伙伴Katie Reytar表示:「珊瑚礁對人們生計的影響不可被低估,從珊瑚大三角到世界各地的人們都獲益於珊瑚礁提供的漁業、旅遊、藥品及數量眾多的其他功能。」

珊瑚大三角六國已經簽署及同意名為「珊瑚大三角倡議」的區域行動方案,各國同意將制訂配合此倡議的國家行動計畫。

報告提及,珊瑚大三角中,菲律賓因為其極受威脅的珊瑚礁、對珊瑚礁上的高度經濟依賴、對珊瑚礁提供的商品和服務若受損的低承載量等因素,成為最脆弱的國家。

報告作者呼籲立即停止珊瑚大三角大部分區域常見的炸魚和毒魚,尤其是在東馬來西亞、菲律賓及印尼,此類行為致使該地區近60%珊瑚礁受威脅。

若採取保護措施,珊瑚礁會復原。報告作者認為,珊瑚礁的健康受到氣候變遷的負面影響,諸如海水酸化導致珊瑚白化或成長遲緩。他們也提出解決當地問題首先必需要全球共同努力降低溫室氣體排放來為爭取時間。

Coral Reef Emergency: 2,600 Scientists Call For Worldwide Rescue
CAIRNS, Australia, July 9, 2012 (ENS)

Coral reefs worldwide are being destroyed by changes in ocean temperature and chemistry faster than at any time since the last reef crisis 55 million years ago, thousands of marine scientists warned in a joint statement today.

"The future of coral reefs isn't a marine version of tree-hugging but a central problem for humanity," said Jeremy Jackson, senior scientist emeritus, Smithsonian Institution and the 2012 recipient of the Darwin Medal.

Speaking at a coral reef symposium in Cairns held only once every four years, Jackson said today, "What's good for reefs is also critically important for people and we should wake up to that fact."

At the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, Jackson was among 2,600 of the world's top marine researchers who released an unprecedented "Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs."

By consensus the scientists are urging a worldwide effort to overcome growing threats to coral ecosystems and to the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them. It calls for measures to head off the escalating damage from rising sea temperatures that cause coral bleaching, ocean acidification, overfishing and pollution from the land.

Coral bleaching occurs when high water temperatures cause corals to expel their symbiotic algae; if prolonged or severe, it can kill the corals.

Jackson told delegates that in the Caribbean Sea, 75-85 percent of the coral cover has been lost in the last 35 years. Even the Great Barrier Reef, the world's best-protected reef ecosystem, has lost half its coral cover in the past 50 years, he said.

Climate change is pushing that decline and causing increased droughts, agricultural failure and sea level rise at increasingly faster rates that implies huge problems for societies, the scientists warn.

Coral reefs provide food and livelihood for tens of millions of coastal inhabitants around the world and function as natural breakwaters for waves and storms. Reefs provide an estimated US$170 to $375 billion in goods and services globally each year.

The consensus statement says that by the end of this century, emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide at the current rate will warm sea surface temperatures by at least 2-3°C (3.6-5.4°F), raise sea-level by as much as 1.7 meters (5.7 feet), reduce ocean pH from 8.1 to less than 7.9 by dissolving additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in seawater, and increase storm frequency and/or intensity.

"There is a window of opportunity for the world to act on climate change - but it is closing rapidly," said Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the symposium and director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Cairns.

"When it comes to coral reefs, prevention is better than cure," said Hughes. "If we look after the Great Barrier Reef better than we do now, it will continue to support a vibrant tourism industry into the future. Unfortunately, in Queensland, the rush to get as much fossil fuel out of the ground as quickly as possible, before the transition to alternative sources of energy occurs, has pushed environmental concerns far into the background."

"While there has been much progress in establishing marine reserves around the coastline of Australia, marine parks do not prevent pollution from the land, or lessen the impact of shipping and port developments, or reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases," said Hughes.

Stephen Palumbi, director of Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in California, said governments must make stronger commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and meanwhile addressing local threats, such as poor land development and unsustainable fishing practices, can help by improving reef health.

"Local action buys us time to deal with the bigger issue of climate change," Palumbi said, urging rebuilding fish populations, reducing polluted runoff and establishing more marine protected areas.

From the University of Hawaii, Robert Richmond, president of the International Society for Reef Studies, said the consensus statement is not just another document about the mounting problems facing coral reefs. Rather, it is focused on connecting the best available science with policy development and implementation through partnering with and supporting both elected officials and traditional leaders.

The five-day event at the Cairns Convention Centre is attended by more than 2,500 people from some 80 countries.

In the symposium's keynote address, the top U.S. oceans official announced a major advance in the ability to predict mass coral bleaching. The new seasonal ecological forecast system can forecast the probability of bleaching four months ahead.

Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, said, "This advance in bleaching warning systems represents another milestone in our efforts to save the world's critically important reef systems."

NOAA's advances in satellite monitoring of the high ocean temperatures that can cause coral bleaching now provide daily five-kilometer satellite monitoring of coral bleaching thermal stress for reefs around the world. This means 100 times finer resolution, more frequent observations, and more data than the current twice-weekly 50-km global satellite coral bleaching monitoring.

The new information products use a blend of data from NOAA and international partner environmental satellites that orbit the planet combined with data from geostationary weather satellites, providing 10 to 50 times more observations each day than the older products.

"The state of reefs today should raise concerns for everyone. Reef ecosystems are globally important, and healthy reefs are the life-line for local communities," said Lubchenco. "Their continued existence is a moral imperative for the global community."

A new report released at the symposium finds that up to 90 percent of reefs in the Coral Triangle are threatened by local human activities plus climate change - much more than the global average of 60 percent.

In the six countries that make up the Coral Triangle - Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste - overfishing, watershed-based pollution, and coastal development as well as coral bleaching caused by warming ocean waters, are destroying the coral ecosystems.

The report, "Reefs at Risk Revisited in the Coral Triangle," was written by the World Resources Institute with the USAID-funded Coral Triangle Support Partnership. The partnership is a consortium of three large environmental groups WWF, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International that assists the six Coral Triangle governments in implementing their regional and national Coral Triangle Initiative plans of action.

The Coral Triangle contains nearly 30 percent of the world's coral reefs and more than 3,000 species of fish - twice the number found anywhere else in the world.

Spanning parts of insular Southeast Asia and the western Pacific, the Coral Triangle is recognized as the global center of marine biological diversity, with the highest coral diversity in the world - 76 percent of all coral species - as well as the highest diversity of coral reef fishes in the world - 37 percent of all species, according to the report.

More than 130 million people living in the region rely on reef ecosystems for food, employment, and tourism revenue.

"The influence of coral reefs on the most important aspects of people's lives cannot be overstated," said Katie Reytar, research associate at World Resources Institute and a lead author of the report. "The influence extends far beyond the Coral Triangle to people around the world who benefit from the fisheries, tourism, medicines, and numerous other services that reefs provide."

The six Coral Triangle countries have signed and agreed to a regional plan of action called the Coral Triangle Initiative, a collaboration that aims to protect this area, and each has developed a national plan of action aligned with the regional plan.

Within the Coral Triangle Region, the Philippines is the most highly vulnerable country because of its highly threatened reefs, very high economic dependence on reefs, and low capacity to adapt to the loss of goods and services provided by reefs, the report finds.

The authors urge a halt to destructive fishing - the use of explosives and poisons to kill or capture fish, a common practice across much of the Coral Triangle Region, particularly in East Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, threatening nearly 60 percent of the region's reefs.

When conserved, coral reefs can recover, and the authors agree that healthy reefs are more likely to survive the negative effects of climate change, such as coral bleaching or slower coral growth due to increased ocean acidity. They, too, say that tackling the local threats first will buy reefs time until the global community can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.