Coral reefs cover an area of over 280,000 km 2 and support thousands of species in what many describe as the rainforests of the seas. Why are Coral Reefs Important? A vital habitat. Tourism of coral reefs is also a major economic contributor to several developing countries. The importance of coral reefs: 5 reasons why we need to protect these delicate ecosystems 1. Why are the coral reefs important? Healthy coral reefs contribute to fishing and tourism, providing millions of jobs and contributing to economies all over the world. Why are coral reefs important Coral reef habitats represent some of the densest and most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. They cover only 0.2 percent of the ocean’s floor, but more than one million species of fish, invertebrates, and algae can be found in and around the world’s reefs. This makes coral reefs one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. This is why many reefs are referred to as barrier reefs, like Australia’s massive Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reef Plants The majority of the plants living on the coral reef are various species of sea grass, seaweed, and algae. Coral reefs maybe have been around for as much as 500 million years, but scientists are warning that they might be gone or decimated by the end of the century. Coral reefs are important ocean habitats and offer a compelling case of the risks of climate change.Reefs provide a large fraction of Earth’s biodiversity—they have been called “the rain forests of the seas.” Scientists estimate that 25 percent of all marine species live in and around coral reefs, making them one of the most diverse habitats in the world. An estimated 25 percent of all marine life, including over 4,000 species of fish, are dependent on coral reefs at some point in their life cycle. And coral reefs are important to our economy, too. The importance of coral reefs hinges on their biodiversity. Besides being beautiful, a tourist attraction, and an important part of planet Earth, coral reefs have a positive impact on … Scientists develop important drugs from coral reef organisms as treatments for cancer, arthritis, and viruses. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Unlike other marine ecosystems, coral reefs support more species per unit area, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals, and hundreds of other marine life. Coral Reefs: Ecosystems of Environmental and Human Value Coral reefs boast some of the richest in biodiversity on the planet. One of the most important services coral reefs provide is being natural barriers between the great force of the sea and land. Approximately half a billion people globally depend on coral reef ecosystems for food, coastal protection, and income from tourism and fisheries. 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