Coral Restoration for Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainable Livelihoods

Owen Day
Published: 10 July 2020
Last edited: 10 July 2020
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Summary

The project focused on building capacity for coral restoration in St Lucia as an ecosystem-based adpatation to climate change. Resilient coral genotypes of elkhorn and staghorn corals were selected from local reefs and propagated in nurseries. We trained and supported local coral gardeners who maintained over 2,500 corals in the nurseries and outplanted over 1,500 1-year old corals. The project developed a Public-Private Partnership with Sandals Foundation and Government of St Lucia, based on a sustainable financing mechanism to ensure that the coral gardeners could continue receiving an income after the end of the project. The training provided skills in SCUBA diving for community members and specialized skills in coral restoration - including a new National Vocational Qualification in Coral Restoration. These new skills helped to empower the local community (young adults in particular) to play a greater role in the stewardship of their coastal resources. 

Classifications

Region
Caribbean
Scale of implementation
National
Ecosystem
Coral reef
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Theme
Adaptation
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Restoration
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
World Heritage
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Ocean warming and acidification
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of technical capacity
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 – Life below water
Aichi targets
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected areas
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
(I)NDC Submission
CLEAR Coral Restoration St Lucia

Location

Soufrière, Saint Lucia

Impacts

  • Increased income for the coral gardeners.  The supplementary income benefited the coral gardeners (men and women) directly, but also provided indirect benefits to their children and partners. 
  • New opportunities for future earnings:  The agreed sustainable financing mechanism developed between CLEAR and the Sandals Foundation will provide income for the coral gardeners when tourism activities resume after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Community-based coral restoration should be promoted as priority during the Post-Covid19 green recovery.
  • Increased ecological resilience.  Corals were propagated from fragments taken from large source colonies that displayed very healthy phenotypes, that had survived previous bleaching events (i.e. adapted to higher SST), disease outbreaks (e.g. White Band) and poor water quality (e.g. sediment and high nutrients during rainy season). Different genotypes were planted in clusters to promote effective sexual reproduction and greater genetic diversity (i.e greater resilience).
  • Increased social resilience. Improving the health, resilience and rugosity of shallow (<7m) fringing coral reefs is particularly important for coastal communities, as it improves coastal protection from storms and sea level rise, provision of food from fisheries and income from tourism.

Contributed by

Owen Day CLEAR Caribbean