Rehabilitating reef rehabilitation: Applying scientific knowledge to improve reef restoration practice in Indonesia
Dr. Tries Razak / Research fellow
National Research and Innovation Agency, Indonesia
Indonesia’s coral reefs have been severely damaged by global and local stressors, and a range of active restoration techniques are now being used in attempts to rebuild degraded reefs. However, it is difficult to summarise Indonesia’s restoration efforts due to a lack of consistent reporting. Here, we first discuss Indonesia's legal policy framework concerning reef restoration. We then provide an extensive review of reef restoration projects in Indonesia, documenting 533 records between 1990 and 2020. Most (73%) of these records come from the past ten years, and many (42%) are reported in online news articles. This review identified 120,483 units of artificial reef installed across Indonesia, along with 53,640 units of coral transplantation (including both coral nurseries and direct out-planting onto reefs); in total, 965,992 fragments of hard coral have been planted across Indonesia. The most favoured restoration materials are concrete (46%) and steel structures (24%). Projects are organised by a diverse range of governmental, NGO, private and community-led organisations. This review demonstrates that Indonesia’s policy has encouraged a diverse range of practitioners to implement reef restoration, but projects are often not coordinated with wider networks of restoration practitioners or scientists, and only 16% of the identified projects included a post-installation monitoring framework. Incorporating clear objectives and long-term monitoring programmes in project planning stages, while prioritising knowledge exchange and engagement with the international scientific community, will substantially improve restoration outcomes in Indonesia. This will allow the country to fulfil its considerable potential as a global leader in rebuilding damaged coral reefs.