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According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), approximately 60 percent of the world's coral reefs are in danger of being wiped out, not only by climate change and disease, but by human activity as well (see "A Sea of Troubles" cover story, January/February 1998). Reefs At Risk a recent WRI report, highlights the human-induced threats to reefs: coastal development, marine-based pollution, destructive fishing practices and impacts from inland pollution and erosion. Coral is also a lucrative international commodity. A recent TRAFFIC USA study reveals that Indonesia is the world's major exporter of dead coral, while the U.S. is the largest importer. According to Lauretta Burke, senior associate at WRI, "Coral reefs offer tremendous value. The economic benefits derived from tourism, coastal protection and recreation far outweigh the short-term benefits derived from the reefs when they are exploited in an unsustainable way." CONTACT: World Resources Institute. 1709 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20086/(202)638-6300.
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Author:DiDomenico, Nicole M.
Date:Nov 1, 1998
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