Coral Reef Conservation, through Community building.

Local community work is key to successful coral reef restoration work.

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In recent weeks, there have been few publications highlighting the importance of coral reef restoration work through training and employment of local communities. This is something that Ocean Gardener chose to promote right from the beginning. A lot of foreigners are interested in getting involved with coral reef restoration, but unfortunately, it’s only with the help of the locals that results can be achieved.

Involvement of Local Community:

Using communities to restore reefs has a proven record, and numerous publications highlight this. Through the Indonesian Fishermen Association, Ocean Gardener always sought some Fishermen communities interested in working in coral reef conservation. Training and employing local communities to restore and plant their reef leads to the best conservation results.

Local community restoring their reef, in Ped, Nusa Penida. Coral reef restoration involves ecology, diving… training.

Recently a social publication, highlighted the benefits of coral reef restoration trained local communities:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11852-024-01041-6

Identifying the right reefs with the right community:

Finding a suitable community living on the appropriate reef is a lottery game; it can take years to find!

Source reefs:

Identifying the reefs that seed other reefs in the region is one of the ultimate and desperate goals of modern coral reef conservation.

Old and large colonies that resisted former bleaching events are potential source reefs, that could help restore other reefs just through sexual reproduction.

The first step is to identify resistant and resilient reefs, such as those that still hold large and old coral colonies, next to deep, high-flow, cooler water. Those initial observations can after be validated through Hydrodynamics, and using genomics tools such as e-DNA.

Unfortunately, these reefs, with all the anthropogenic threats are getting more difficult to find.

Conservation minded community:

Most communities in a third-world country are focused on daily survival needs. They have short-term issues, such as putting food on the table. And finding a community that has a long-term vision, is a real issue.

Local community installing moorings to protect their newly restored reef.

The chance of finding a conservation-minded community living next to a source reef is tiny, like striking gold. The survey work can take forever.

This type of work requires a long-term effort. Changing mentalities is a generational process, one generation at a time. Working with the adult, while educating the youngsters is a long undertaking. To achieve any results, we need to be ready to commit, financially and with our time in the long run.

The result can be so rewarding!

Coral reef restoration work through training and employment of local communities is not an easy task. However; when the planets align, the result can be amazing!

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