Coral reefs are in danger as a result of climate change and other human-related stressors. Around the world, coastal and non-coastal communities alike, depend heavily on oceanic ecosystems, including coral reefs primarily for food and work.
What is Coral Restoration?
The term Coral restoration refers to projects whereby time, energy, and resources are devoted to directly increasing the coral reef health, abundance, and biodiversity. These three factors help reefs to become more resilient and stable in the long term. There are many organizations around the world working on coral restoration and biodiversity conservation.
For example, The Oceancy, a non profit organization focused on sustainable development, helps communities in need of guidance to protect their local aquatic environments and to use their coral reefs as a source of eco-tourism through education, awareness and training. These practices in the long term not only help restore the reef and its biodiversity, but help combat climate change as a whole.
Where are Coral Restoration Projects Needed?
Coral reef populations have declined by over 50% in the past 30 years and recent studies project that they will decline by another 40% in the 30 years to come if the same levels of climatic changes continue. Most of the decline in coral reef species are in areas of developing communities and small coastal areas with shallower waters where the reef is more exposed to human activities and waste.
Additionally, deeper reefs are also affected by temperature changes in the ocean and industrial fishing activities. Many current coral restoration projects are taking place in the Caribbean, Mexico, Australia and Asia. Oftentimes coral restoration projects are most important in communities that rely on the reef for everyday life.
Benefits of Coral Restoration in the Maldives?
Often many coral bleaching activities have a direct impact on small, developing island communities. Not only do reefs act as buffers for shorelines against waves, storms, and floods but they also act as the main nutrition hub providing fish and other seafood for communities. As corals die, the fish cannot gain the nutrients they need for survival therefore, the marine life in that area is depleted.
This in turn, makes the community vulnerable as well. In addition, corals also hold an important value for tourism and the local economy. Allowing visitors to experience the reef and its biodiversity through sustainable aquatic activities and water sports allows people to form a relationship with nature and invest in a community’s restoration efforts.
An excellent example of one of these communities is that of Velidhoo Island in the Maldives.
The local community has seen a great loss in corals and overall health of their reef and wanted to restore the coral populations to increase both the health of the ecosystem and the people.
By working with organizations such as The Oceancy and Baokalo on Coral restoration, the ecosystem will see an increase in corals, marinelife and beautiful underwater reef scenery. This can be achieved through the use of iron frames that hold newly planted corals in place and enhance their growth. Throughout the year, corals will develop on the frame and grow into healthy and beautiful 3D structures that allow marine life to return to the area. This type of project also allows the community to develop the skills to maintain the new and growing reef through specialized education, conservation efforts and physical activities.
Thanks to this training, the small community of people working together to replenish the island’s corals today, can continue to grow their efforts for years to come and allow the reef to flourish again. By protecting and restoring coral reefs, the health and wellness of the oceans, its biodiversity and the community will all thrive.
Importance of Coral Restoration
When conventional conservation measures are not enough to save a coral reef, coral restoration and rehabilitation is an option that can be carried out with communities through training and education. For example, The Oceancy works with communities such as the locals of Velidhoo island to actively plant new corals on degraded reefs, where they can recover and regrow until the reef eventually thrives again.
As the threat of climate change worsens with time, ocean temperatures and acidification will increase and ensuring that our coral reefs are protected is a topic of paramount importance. This is the main reason for which The Oceancy’s Coral restoration projects are extremely valuable for small island communities and to the health of our oceans.
Do you want to do your part and help protect and preserve coral reefs?
First we suggest you use only eco-friendly sunscreens, which do not harm the corals.
We also encourage you to contact the companies that deal with coral restoration and donate. Your donation will be essential to concretely protect the coral reefs.
If you are interested in supporting the restoration project in Velidhoo island by adopting a coral, click here.
For more info on The Oceancy’s related projects or to donate, please visit : https://theoceancy.org
Would you like to know more about eco-friendly travel?
To receive inspiration directly to your email inbox, please click here and subscribe to the Ecotourism World newsletter!