“Ecological restoration is defined as the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed.”

The most widely used method for the ecological restoration of coral reefs is “coral gardening”. This method involves the cultivation of coral fragments in specially designed nurseries, varying in techniques and forms, according to species and objectives. In the nursery, the small fragments grow protected from sedimentation, algal overgrowth and predation. Once the fragments reach a desired size, they are transplanted to the reef, in order to rehabilitate the damaged area.

The success of ecological restoration is characterized by:

Coral reef restoration should promote the recovery of the entire ecosystem. It should have an effect on the species you are actively working with, but also on those that depend on corals. It should promote an increase both in biological interactions and in the diversity and abundance of these species.

Sustainability, development and maintenance of restoration at appropriate scales requires long-term investments, which carries a high financial cost. However, tourism strategies with a purpose and thematic donations are fundamental pillars to sustain and push the goals of restoration projects to new limits. Alliances to achieve objectives provide tools for the distribution of spending, and at the same time they are the control engine necessary to integrate the different visions of development that society requires.

Restoration efforts must be based on a historical understanding of what the area’s reefs looked like in the past, and what led them to their current state of degradation. Knowing what the same reefs were like in the past gives us a reference of what we want to achieve with the restoration. Likewise, possible future scenarios of global change that affect the conditions that the reefs of the future will have to survive must be considered.

Restoration efforts can provide jobs and income for people in the community. Likewise, restoration works as a tool for environmental education, promoting the appreciation of the marine environment and the conservation of reefs.