This course was designed by the Reef Resilience Network to provide coral reef managers and practitioners with best practice guidance for common coral reef restoration techniques. This course includes six lessons that discuss strategic planning and decision-making for coral restoration, enhancing coral populations through gardening and larval propagation, restoring reef structure for coastal protection services, rapid restoration response after acute disturbances, and monitoring for restoration success. Lessons incorporate new science, case studies, and management practices described in the Reef Resilience Toolkit.

Coral reef managers are increasingly turning to restoration as a strategy to combat reef degradation and promote reef recovery. As a result, different techniques are being used across the globe, making it difficult to choose the right approach for your location’s specific needs and capabilities. The Reef Resilience Network Restoration Online Course is designed to provide managers and practitioners with information on the latest restoration best practices for coral reef ecosystems, including guidance on restoration planning and program design and descriptions of a diversity of restoration approaches currently being employed. The course includes 6 lessons in English and Spanish with assessments:

Introduction to Restoration & Project Planning

It introduces the general theory and practice of ecological restoration and its use in coral reef ecosystems and provides a guided process for planning and designing a coral reef restoration program, from setting objectives through determining on-the-ground restoration actions, which is based on the Manager’s Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning & Design (The Nature Conservancy).

Restoring Coral Populations with Coral Gardening

It describes the steps involved in restoring populations of hard corals using the techniques and approaches known as ‘coral gardening’. These techniques include collection of coral fragments from reefs, types of coral nurseries, the propagation and growth of colonies in field-based nurseries, and transplantation (or outplanting) of corals back onto reefs.

Restoring Coral Populations with Larval Propagation

It describes the steps involved in enhancing coral populations using the techniques and approaches known as larval propagation. This lesson includes information on coral’s natural sexual reproduction process, and describes methods for collecting and fertilizing coral gametes, rearing new coral larvae and promoting settlement onto the reef or artificial structures, and outplanting corals back onto reefs.

Restoring Reef Structure for Coastal Resilience

It describes restoring the physical structure of coral reef ecosystems, an important intervention for habitats that have been damaged, degraded, or become unsuitable for coral larval settlement. This lesson is based on the Guidance Document for Reef Management and Restoration to Improve Coastal Protection: Recommendations for Global Applications Based on Lessons Learned in Mexico (The Nature Conservancy).

Rapid Response and Emergency Restoration

It describes how to prepare for, respond to, and then repair coral reef ecosystems after disturbance events. Recommendations in this lesson focus on responding to three major causes of damage: tropical cyclones, vessel groundings, and disease epidemics. The hurricane response section is based on the Early Warning and Immediate Response Protocol for Tropical Cyclone Reef Impact in Puerto Morelos Reef National Park (The Nature Conservancy).

Monitoring for Restoration

It describes approaches for monitoring coral reef restoration projects in order to evaluate their success and development. This lesson discusses current practices for monitoring, including methods and metrics that assess individual coral colonies and the broader ecological effects of restoration on reef sites. This lesson also provides recommendations for standard monitoring metrics that can be used to help compare across projects.

If you want to complement this knowledge development program with hands-on training we recommend our field programs on coral reef restoration.

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