Satellite Image: Loss of Corals, Mangroves and Turtles in the Komodo National Park

Cnes 2004 - 2010 - Distribution Astrium Services / Spot Image

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

The satellite image shows the sea, coral and mangrove beaches of Komodo.

This park features some of the world’s most diverse coral reefs and is famous for the last remaining habitat of the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), which exists nowhere else in the world.

Increased CO2 concentrations in the sea and higher sea surface temperature threaten the existence of the coral reefs.

Meanwhile, sea-level rise is endangering the conservation of mangrove forests in the park and threatening turtle-nesting beaches.

The warmer environment is also affecting the sea turtles, since the incubation temperature of eggs co-determines the sex of hatchlings, with higher temperatures causing a predominance of female hatchlings.

While more females may enhance the fertility of the sea turtle population, this effect may be nullified by the loss of nesting beaches.


This image was first produced and shown at the UNESCO Outdoor Exhibition ‘Satellites and World Heritage Sites, Partners to Understand Climate Change,’ shown at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico.

Developed in close partnership with Planet Action, the German Aerospace Center, the European Space Agency and the Belgian Federal Office for Science Policy and supported by the Flemish government the exhibition traveled through Mexico, to China and to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris as well as being shown at COP17 in Durban.

RTCC, in partnership with UNESCO, will be showing one satellite image daily this week. All information, both image and text corresponds to the exhibition panels.

More information and the full exhibition can be viewed here.

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