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Coral reefs are important ecosystems which are increasingly threatened by pollution, climate change and habitat change. Coral reefs are economically important to coastal communities living in predominantly developing countries, and also provide shoreline protection, catalyse land formation enabling human habitation, act as a carbon sink and are a repository for genetic and species diversity rivalling tropical rainforests. In the face of mounting man-made pressure, these ecosystems increasingly need action to be taken to ensure their conservation and long term sustainable development.
This book breaks new ground by providing the first in-depth account of the ways in which multilateral environmental treaty regimes are seeking to encourage and improve the conservation of warm-water coral reef ecosystems. In so doing, the work aims to raise the profile of such activities in order to reinforce their status on the environmental agenda.
The book also has wider implications for the international environmental law project, arguing that sectorial legal action, provided it remains co-ordinated through a global forum which recognises and reflects the inter-connections between all elements of the natural environment, is the most practically effective way for international law to enhance conservation of habitats.