[Coral-List] A message of alert after participating on the Global Conservation Symposium

International Coral Reefs Observatory icri.colombia at gmail.com
Tue Mar 15 22:28:46 UTC 2022

Last week, we participated in the Global Conservation Symposium organized
by the Conservation Strategy Fund.

One of the topics we discussed within our Research Program (Science of
Loss: Valuing Coral Reefs Ecosystem Biodiversity), was the influence on
Effective Conservation of Cognitive dissonance (Mental discomfort that
results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes).

This social psychological concept is applied in evaluating coral reefs
conservation effectiveness. One case study, it is when identifying
the tendency of some restoration practitioners who depend economically on
confidential contracts that force them to justify unsustainable
megaprojects that will destroy coral reefs. They have expertise in other
ecosystems or sites at doctorate or masters level, they know about the
negative impact for coral reefs from dredging, sedimentation, pollution,
and other local threats. However, they justify the megaprojects promising
to "Save Coral Reefs with sampling transects removing few coral colonies or
scaling up the coral breaking in the wild trying to seek consistency in
their attitudes and perceptions, so their mental conflict causes them
feelings of unease or discomfort that they try to solve but feel guilty or
targeted when discovered and respond aggressively, others are lucky to keep
camouflaged as "Heroes".

The risk for coral reefs ecosystem integrity, is the increasing
developing plans within the Blue Economy that involves
restoration practitioners from low and middle income countries who may get
hired to assure their unsustainable development plans are justified and
performed regardless of the progresive negative impact they cause to
resilient coral reefs.

The challenge for the Blue Economy is to base their decisions on
transdisciplinary research (Multidisciplinary research that listens to
local communities without impositions, involving bottom up schemes of
protection). The good knews for conservation practitioners is that many
presentations at the Symposium and external shared links to
other publications proved that economic valuations and financial analyses
may guide alternative projects far away from resilient coral reefs, to
effectively save them.

Cordial saludo,

Nohora Galvis
Observatorio Internacional de Arrecifes Coralinos
Fundación ICRI Colombia

Rosa Helena
Coordinadora Red Internacional de Observadores Voluntarios del Arrecife

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