Coral reefs provide a variety of important services and benefits such as food, coastal protection, recreation opportunities, habitat for a variety of species, tourism, cultural heritage, and social connectedness through a sense of place. However, increasing population growth rates along with economic and industrial development, unsustainable fishing, land-based pollution, global forces from climate change, coral bleaching, coral disease, among others, have resulted in unprecedented pressure on coral reefs.
These competing uses of the coastal-marine environment and issues at local and global scales merit asking how to ensure the longevity of these special ecosystems that provide incredible value to society, such as: How much are coral reefs worth to society? How much do people care about coral ecosystems? Can we demonstrate the value of these unique ecosystems and account for what we stand to lose if they are irreparably damaged? The answers to these questions have the potential to inform the optimal level of protection, the need for funding for interventions that combat coral disease and other threats to reef health, and even levels of insurance under new models that tie local development to the sustained longevity of corals for their coastal protection services.
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program is leading a comprehensive Coral Reef Ecosystem Goods and Services Valuation project to provide updated, defensible monetary values of U.S. coral reef ecosystem services in Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Hawai'i, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Remote Island Areas, and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Year 1 (April 2021 - March 2022):
Conducted a comprehensive review of the coral reef ecosystem service literature
Performed a gap analysis highlighting areas and services for future consideration
Held a series of workshops with local stakeholders and socioeconomic, academic experts to inform project planning and guide activities in year two and beyond
Year 2 (April 2022 - March 2023, planned):
Chart path forward for valuation, starting with two study area jurisdictions
Develop an approach to incorporate cultural values alongside the economic suite of ecosystem goods and services values
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
coral reef conservation program
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.
Contact CRCP →
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program
SSMC4, 10th Floor
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
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NOAA's Coral Reef Information System
SSMC3, 4th floor
1315 East-West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910 firstname.lastname@example.org