The CLME+ region occupies a globally highly relevant position in terms of its share in the total coverage of key tropical marine habitats known to deliver substantial contributions to globally important ecological processes. Approximately 10% of the world’s coral reefs, and around 20% of the world’s remaining mangrove forests are located within the CLME+ region.
In a similar way, it is estimated that at least 25 to 50% of the world’s seagrass beds would be located within the CLME+ region. Globally, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and salt marshes contribute almost 50% of the total organic carbon burial in ocean sediments, known as ‘blue carbon’.
As such, these habitats help in constraining the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and provide nursery grounds for regionally and globally important fish stocks (Holmyard, N., 2014). Of high relevance for fisheries are also the continental shelf and pelagic ecosystems. Therefore, the CLME+ SAP focuses on three so-called “sub-ecosystems”: the coral reef, the pelagic and the continental shelf sub-ecosystems (Figure x).