Upscaling restoration and protection of the critically endangered acroporid corals where it’s needed the most in Belize, using proven techniques, continued local capacity building, and mapping.

Fragments of Hope
Published: 21 September 2021
Last edited: 21 September 2021
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Summary

Fragments of Hope (FoH) has long-established acroporid nurseries and replenishment sites in southern Belize, using thermally tolerant corals identified via mapping and monitoring in Belize’s hottest (bleaching) conditions. In 2020, the focus shifted to northern Belize due to the appearance of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) throughout 3 MPAs there (Bacalar Chico, Hol Chan and Caye Caulker Marine Reserves) because the Caribbean acroporid corals are not susceptible to SCTLD, and they are the fastest growing, main reef building species. FoH has over 26 nurseries in 7 MPAs in Belize, and has outplanted over 156,000 corals nationwide.

Classifications

Region
Central America
Scale of implementation
National
Ecosystem
Coral reef
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Theme
Adaptation
Disaster risk reduction
Fisheries and aquaculture
Genetic diversity
Indigenous people
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Restoration
Science and research
Tourism
Traditional knowledge
World Heritage
Challenges
Floods
Increasing temperatures
Loss of Biodiversity
Ocean warming and acidification
Sea level rise
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Erosion
Ecosystem loss
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of access to long-term funding
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through consumers
Indirect through government
(I)NDC Submission

Location

Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Belize | Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Gladden Spit & the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, South Water Caye MR, Turneffe Atoll MR, Caye Caulker MR, Hol Chan MR, Bacalar Chico MR
Placencia, Placencia, Stann Creek, Belize
San Pedro, Belize City, Belize
Caye Caulker, Belize City Belize

Challenges

Funding is the biggest challenge. Ecosystem restoration requires long term, consistent funding.

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries include the trained restoration practitioners that collect a daily stipend, and every tour guide and tour operator that visits our replenished reef sites. 

How do the building blocks interact?

Our training manual is accessible as a PDF download on the website under the Media Center pull down menu

Impacts

At LBC, we have increased coral cover from <6% to over 60%. We have replenished over 20% of a hectare of fringing reef with acroporids. In 2020, FoH was confirmed as one of the UN's Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Forming 50 Initiatives.

FoH’s approach to reef restoration is different from others in that it concentrates on the shallow reef areas where shoreline protection is most needed and the acroporids thrive, has always been community-owned (trained Belizeans do the fieldwork and get paid), has a standardized training protocol (workshop curricula) vetted by the Belize Fisheries Department and uses science/data for both coral(s) and site(s) selection criteria.  FoH’s strategy involves mapping thermally tolerant/disease resistant corals in Belize’s hottest months, and using those corals to increase the genetic diversity of acroporid stands in carefully selected sites to facilitate successful cross cross-fertilization of gametes when the corals are large enough to spawn, documented at Laughing Bird Caye National Park in southern Belize (Carne and Baums 2016). Outplanting is only conducted outside of hurricane season (Dec-May).

Story

Fragments of Hope

Everytime we visit the replenished corals it is inspirational; everytime a tour guide comments on their outplanted corals growing or the success of the restoration work it is priceless. Everytime we take young students out and they get motivated to protect & conserve the coral reefs and their critters, I am inspired

Contributed by

Lisa Carne Fragments of Hope