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Mar Pollut Bull. 2008 Nov;56(11):1821-4. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.08.014. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

Management of coral reefs: we have gone wrong when neglecting active reef restoration.

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  • Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Tel- Shikmona, P.O. Box 8030, Haifa 31080, Israel. buki@ocean.org.il


The current best management tools employed in coral reefs worldwide do not achieve conservation objectives as coral reefs continue to degrade. Even improved reef management helps, at best, to reduce the degradation pace, whereas the worsening global changes foretell a dismal fate for coral reefs. The assertion made here is that the prospect for reefs' future is centered on omnipresent acceptance of restoration, an 'active' management instrument. A recent promising such tool is the 'gardening concept', influenced by the well-established scientific discipline of terrestrial forestation. This notion is supported by a two-step protocol. The first step entails rearing coral "seedlings", in specially designed underwater nurseries, to transplantable size, before applying the second step, out-planting into damaged areas of the nursery-farmed coral colonies. Only the establishment of large-scale nurseries and transplantation actions, together with conventional management tools, will be able to cope with extensive reef degradation on the global scale.

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