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Six Southeast Asian countries are working together to better conserve the world’s centre of marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle, with the hope that this will lead to a more collaborative approach to sharing coral reef resources in the area.
The Coral Triangle sits between Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, a group of countries that have formed the Coral Triangle Initiative. It is home to 76 per cent of the world’s known coral species, 2,500 reef fish species, and the largest area of mangroves in the world.
Hugh Possingham and his team are making conservation more efficient. They’re helping to save less fashionable threatened species by getting more bang for the bucks donated to cute and cuddly species.
The team of ecologists and mathematicians in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions (CEED) worked with the New Zealand government to assess how to better spend money that is donated to conservation. They’ve shown that by protecting habitats shared by several different species, the money donated to charismatic ones can be stretched further to save other species as well.
“The way we currently attempt to save species is inefficient, choosing species that are popular or charismatic, like koalas and tigers, over those that are less well known or even ugly, like the blobfish,” says Hugh, ARC Laureate Fellow and Director of CEED.