[Coral-List] Restoration and conservation Re: ICRS 2021 meeting session: Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 11 18:03:20 UTC 2020

The science of Ecological Restoration is well established and follows a set of science-based principles. I invite you to visit the Society for Restoration Ecology web site, which has links to standards and protocols in their "Resource Center" tab

Specifically, for coral reef restoration, what you call "planting out corals" is just one step in coral gardening, which is one of many techniques available in this scientific discipline of restoration ecology.

The aim of coral reef restoration is to restore ecological function. Science-based projects take into account all factors, from local to global stressors. Unfortunately, there are many "copy-cats", people that start 'planting corals" without going through all the steps of a science-based restoration project. Whether it is blind enthusiasm attached to ignorance or real malice, it needs evaluation in a case by case basis.

Also, to clarify a comment about funding (from a post related to this one), in my experience, none of the funding I have secured to implement coral reef restoration projects was taken away from the funding pie of conservation and climate change mitigation. This is not an issue of coral reef restoration taking away slices of the funding pie for conservation. We are not eating the pie and leaving our conservation colleagues hungry. We are making the funding pie bigger.

None of the coral reef restoration scientists I work with ignores local and global stressors to coral reefs. None of us thinks that restoration is the magic pill that will save coral reefs. Restoration is one more tool in the toolbox of saving coral reefs.

As I keep repeating over and over, to save coral reefs, conservation, restoration, and targeting the climate crisis must all work together.

Finally, on the Titanic analogy, there was a similar comment ("rearranging the deck chairs ") shared at the open forum during ICRS 2016 in Hawaii, saying that first, we must stop burning fossil fuels, and stop climate change, before we even consider coral reef restoration. My answer to this comment was that if we take this approach, there will be no point to do restoration by then.

The futile tug of war between pro-conservation and pro-restoration coral reefs scientists is nicely explained in "Coral Whisperers" by Irus Braverman. I strongly recommend reading this book to you and folks in Coral-list.

This is not a conservation vs. restoration issue.
It's not game over.
It's game on.
We must fight the coral reef crisis together, not against each other.


Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
Twitter: @GrouperDoc
Science Blog: https://grouperluna.com/
Art Blog: https://oceanbestiary.com/

From: Coral-List <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> on behalf of Douglas Fenner via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 6:03 PM
To: Storlazzi, Curt D <cstorlazzi at usgs.gov>
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] ICRS 2021 meeting session: Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?

  Wouldn't an important aspect be how long improvements in the amount of
live coral last??  If people plant out 10,000 corals and feel good about
themselves, but only 100 survive more than 5 years, was it worth it??  This
is a question which it seems to me the huge number of enthusiastic coral
restoration people are dodging, and I think it is a critical one.  Bad
water quality and mass coral bleaching can undo all these good efforts, and
WILL, if we don't address them, and so far we're failing miserably at
that.  Isn't this fad just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic???
Cheers,  Doug

On Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 7:05 AM Storlazzi, Curt D via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Dear colleagues:
> We would like to draw your attention to a meeting session to address:
> Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?
> at the 2021 International Coral Reef Symposium, which is being held 18-23
> July 2021 in Bremen, Germany.
> If your work is relevant to this session please submit an abstract to
> ICRS20-39 under Theme 13: Interventions and Restoration via the following
> link:
> https://www.icrs2021.de/program/call-for-abstracts/
> Session Description:
> Coastal flooding and erosion affects thousands of vulnerable coastal
> communities and has resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in damage
> during the past decade alone; these impacts are predicted to worsen with
> continued population growth and climate change. There is growing
> recognition of the role of coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction as
> they dissipate wave energy and produce and trap sediment on adjacent
> beaches and thus reduce flooding and erosion. Given these benefits, there
> is the potential to apply coral reef restoration not only to meet
> ecological recovery goals such as coral species and reef communities, but
> also to reduce coastal hazards and build coastal resilience to current and
> future storms. To meet and support these joint objectives, there must be
> rigorous, quantitative assessments of restoration performance, particularly
> for risk reduction benefits. This mini-symposium focuses on advancements in
> understanding the role of coral reefs in hazard risk reduct
>  ion, including but not limited to (i) quantifying the roles of coral
> spacing, morphology, and attachment strength in boundary-layer
> hydrodynamics; (ii) relating coral species morphology, structural
> complexity, or reef location to change in hydrodynamic roughness or
> induction of wave breaking for different environmental forcing conditions;
> (iii) design and siting of reef restoration to best reduce coastal flooding
> for different reef configurations; (iv) comparison of natural green and
> hybrid gray-green infrastructure in relation to ecological and hydrodynamic
> change; (v) incorporation of ecological connectivity into reef restoration
> site selection; and (vi) cost-benefit analyses of restoration for coastal
> hazard risk reduction. Summaries of current local or regional-scale
> studies, including modeling exercises are encouraged, especially if they
> evaluate social and economic impacts of different restoration options.
> Please visit the conference website for more information:
> https://www.icrs2021.de/program/session-program/#c245
> Abstract submission closes 15 September 2020
> For further information and all updates, please visit:
> https://www.icrs2021.de
> If you know of anyone who might be interested who might not receive this
> notice, please feel free to pass it along.  We are very excited about this
> session and look forward to your participation. If you have any questions,
> please feel free to contact us. We hope to see you in Bremen!
> Organizers:
> Curt Storlazzi - USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
> Shay Viehman - NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
> Mike Beck - UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences
> ---------------------------------------------------
> Curt D. Storlazzi, Ph.D.
> U.S. Geological Survey
> Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
> 2885 Mission Street
> Santa Cruz, CA 95060
> (831) 295-3429 cell during COVID-19
> https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/curt-d-storlazzi
> _______________________________________________
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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