CRC Publishes Priorities for Global Coral Reef Restoration

In March 2020, just before global coral restoration took its hiatus into the virtual laboratory, the CRC Leadership Team met in Costa Rica to re-evaluate its priorities. The CRC’s work is intended to complement global restoration efforts in the areas of implementation, research, and international coordination. It is within these areas that the Leadership Team developed and recently published, Six priorities to advance the science and practice of coral reef restoration worldwide. With our global community of practice, the CRC Leadership Team has developed these priorities to help expand and improve the success of coral restoration around the world.

The priorities are to:

(1) increase restoration efficiency, focusing on scale and cost-effectiveness of deployment;

(2) scale-up larval-based coral restoration efforts, emphasizing recruit health, growth, and survival;

(3) ensure restoration of threatened coral species proceeds within a population-genetics management context;

(4) support a holistic approach to coral reef ecosystem restoration;

(5) develop and promote the use of standardized terms and metrics for coral reef restoration; and

(6) support [coral reef restoration] practitioners working in diverse geographic locations.

These priorities are not exhaustive nor do they imply that accomplishing these tasks alone will restore coral reefs globally; rather, these collective actions can provide tangible, local-scale advancements in reef conditions that offset declines resulting from local and global stressors including climate change.

What’s Next?

The paper outlines a series of objectives under each of the six priority areas. For the next few years, CRC Groups (working groups, ad-hoc groups, and regional groups) will be working on tasks under each of these objectives. A detailed list of these tasks and the CRC groups working toward solutions can be found on the CRC website. If your organization is working on similar efforts or wishes to collaborate, please get in touch at coral.restoration@noaa.gov.

Working together on these priorities, CRC members and partners aim to promote and improve coral reef restoration as a viable, scientifically rigorous, and practical conservation strategy.

SPECIAL THANKS to Tali Vardi, Phanor Montoya Maya, Whitney Hoot, Jessica Levy, Elizabeth Shaver, and R. Scott Winters for their significant roles in conceiving, structuring, and writing the manuscript. Thank you to the rest of the CRC Leadership team for your roles in writing and reviewing drafts of the paper.