[Coral-List] Reef restoration in Nevis

John McManus jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
Fri May 23 23:01:39 EDT 2008

There are clearly some good, specific uses for coral planting technology,
and it is good that efforts continue to improve this. Sites of ship
groundings are a good example, where the owners of the vessel pay for the
replanting. There are also cases where a hotel might rationally improve its
profits through the development of an attractive and highly stable
artificial reef near shore, provided that there are measures in place to
prevent it from adding to overfishing and pollution. I believe that the
broader importance of the technology of coral planting may be in terms of
small, strategically placed coral planting sites which, based on a knowledge
of local transport processes, may enhance recovery of populations of species
which have gone locally extinct or nearly so.   

Tom's figure of $100/square meter is very helpful for planning purposes. The
average reef around the world is about 1 square kilometer, or 1 million
square meters. Replacing a single reef via replanting alone would be about
$100 million, assuming costs don't go up as materials become locally scarce.
With NOAA's entire national Coral Reef Conservation Program budget running
around $25 million per year, they could not support very much coverage in
planted corals. Given that many countries have reef coverage in the tens of
thousands of square kilometers (the Philippines alone may have 30,000 to
45,000 square kilometers of reef), replanting via artificial reef structures
is not likely to be practical. However, strategic replanting may indeed be
increasingly important as a way of supplementing resilience in some reefs.

I think an important step forward along those lines would be controlled
experiments set up to demonstrate downstream enhancement of brooder and
fragmenting corals from coral planting sites.



John W. McManus, PhD.
Director, National Center for Coral Reef Research
Professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries
Rosentstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causway, Miami, 33149, FL.
Phone: 305-421-4814   Fax: 305-421-4910  http://ncore.rsmas.miami.edu/

"If I cannot build it, I do not understand it." 
                   Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate


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