Home > news > NOAA Supports Development of a Universal Guide for Evaluating Coral Restoration Success

NOAA Supports Development of a Universal Guide for Evaluating Coral Restoration Success

Published on: 10/26/2020
Primary Contact(s): shay.viehman@noaa.gov

As coral reefs continue to degrade globally, there is an increasing need for preservation and restoration of these valuable coastal resources. As coral restoration efforts continue to increase and scale up in size and number, there is now an overwhelming need to define restoration efficacy and evaluate progress towards success.

Universal Metrics evaluate restoration at different scales (Landscape, Population, Colony, Genetic), and the Environment. They provide data on the size, growth, condition, and diversity of the corals used for restoration, and on the water temperature of the restoration site. Credit: Alessandra Burgos (NCCOS), Cristina Cortés Gómez (Coral Hero)

The Coral Reef Restoration Monitoring Guide: Methods to evaluate success from local to ecosystem scales provides a scalable scientific approach to evaluate progress towards restoration success. Developed by the Coral Restoration Consortium (CRC) Monitoring Working Group, the guide provides standardized scientific guidance for monitoring coral reef restoration and measuring restoration success. Coral restoration practitioners can use the monitoring framework presented in this Guide to quantify the success of the restoration goal or objective, compare between projects, programs, and regions, increase the efficiency of restoration and data collection, and make informed decisions about restoration efforts. Lessons learned from effective monitoring can be used to identify problems and apply adaptive management strategies as needed.

Two categories of coral restoration monitoring metrics are included in this Guide: Universal Metrics, recommended as basic monitoring for all coral restorations, and Goal-Based Performance Metrics, recommended for evaluating progress towards meeting specific restoration goals.  Metrics are detailed for each goal, and include key points, suggested methods, reporting guidelines, and criteria to evaluate the performance towards the restoration goal and towards restoration success. Learn more about the metrics here.

Definitions of restoration success can be different depending on the program or project goals. Restoration goals are defined herein as Ecological, Socioeconomic, Event-Driven, Climate Change Adaptation, and Research. Credit: Cristina Cortés Gómez (Coral Hero)

This Guide is a product of the efforts of the CRC Monitoring Working Group, with support from the CRC Leadership Team. The CRC, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Research Associateship Program (NAS) provided funding, travel and logistics support.

The use of this Guide and feedback provided by practitioners will improve the evaluation of coral restoration success and support adaptive management efforts. To learn more, visit the NCCOS Project Page.

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