Status of coral reefs, coral reef monitoring and management in Southeast Asia 2004
- This 2004 assessment of coral reefs in Southeast Asia (SEA) continues to show an overall decline in reef condition, but it does offer a glimmer of hope for the future. While the decline is regional, it is not re ected in the reef status in all countries. For example, Indonesia continues to show slight, but de nite improvements in reef condition from 1999, while preliminary data from Myanmar show that the reefs surveyed are relatively healthy, with most of the reefs surveyed having more than 75% live coral cover. The continued decline in reef in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore is still a major concern, and although threats to reefs remain high and dominated by anthropogenic factors, more active management initiatives are being implemented throughout the region, which provides a sense of optimism for the coral reefs of SEA. Coral reef monitoring in SEA started more than 20 years ago, with the Philippines starting in the late 1970s. Monitoring in a core regional network of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand started in 1986 with funding from the ASEAN-Australia Living Coastal Resources (LCR) project, until 1994. Monitoring since has varied between countries; some have continued and expanded monitoring programs and strengthened in-country coordination and capacity building; others have reduced monitoring and fragmented or weakened coordination. However, SEA countries have begun to re-examine their monitoring since 1999, and started re-building partnerships and establishing new ones within and outside the region. Countries outside this core network have begun to establish their own monitoring programs, such that there are now 8 countries with coral reef monitoring programs, leaving only Myanmar without monitoring in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). This assessment highlights the urgent need for an in-depth and extensive review of all coral reef monitoring efforts since the late 1970s, in an attempt to establish a regional standardisation of methods, data archiving, analysis, interpretation and reporting. There is a critical lack of effective coordination in SEA, even though the region is the centre of global coral reef biodiversity. All countries in ASEAN are currently making this call, and it is accompanied by a strong commitment to work together as a regional team. The new energy that is emerging within the region provides hope for the conservation and improved management of coral reefs in SEA.
- Miscellaneous themes 
Suharsono, Thamasak Yeemin
- Book Chapter