Corals are a vital component of marine ecosystems. They provide food and protection for a huge variety of fish and marine life; are crucial to sustaining livelihoods among coastal populations; and a key mechanism for ensuring the protection of low-lying coastal areas. Despite their importance, the world’s coral reefs are being destroyed and disappearing at an alarming rate. This beautifully illustrated publication – the first in a series of booklets on coastal ecosystems – is aimed at the general public, as well as decision-makers and coastal developers. Using simple language it provides an overview of the different types of corals in existence, a description of the main threats to which they are exposed; and a short summary of action being taken to protect one of the world’s most important resources.