The Nature Conservancy is delighted to announce that its proposal “CoralCarib: Pioneering a new strategic approach for conserving and restoring Caribbean coral reef ecosystems that targets Climate Resilient Refugia” to the International Climate Initiative (IKI) has been approved by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) in Germany.
The proposal will be implemented in four target Caribbean countries, including Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica, with additional exchanges with Belize over a six-year period with an investment of 6.3 million Euros.
The goal of the CoralCarib project is to increase marine biodiversity in 1,871 hectares of priority coral reef ecosystems in the four target Caribbean Islands and regionally through scaling.
Through project interventions, healthier and more resilient reefs will provide socio-economic benefits to people living in the coastal zones in these four countries. Specifically, the project states: “Healthier coral reef ecosystems will contribute significantly to increased biodiversity, economic prosperity, food security and social resilience of the selected countries.”
This project will pioneer a new strategic approach focused on “Coral Climate Refugia”, with activities designed to protect, restore, and sustainably use coral reefs with high potential to survive future climate impacts.
Some of the major activities to be undertaken during the project include effective management of marine areas, reducing the threats to coral reefs survival, coral restoration using advanced technologies, promotion of sustainable livelihoods, and a range of scaling activities to achieve region-wide impacts. Under this project, knowledge and experiences related to coral conservation, restoration, and sustainable livelihoods will be also shared with reef conservation partners in Belize.
The project is expected to generate long-term socio-economic benefits to coastal communities across the Caribbean region as a result of improved coral reef health. The benefits will be derived particularly in the form of greater coastal protection from storms and related flooding/shoreline erosion and an economically vibrant coastal tourism sector supported by extensive natural beaches, marine ecotourism, and fresh seafood.
The teams in the four CoralCarib target countries of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica will have numerous resources at their disposal because of the project. These include access to the methods and results of Coral Climate Refugia mapping, coral restoration methods, protocols, spawning calendars, online monitoring platforms, and a coral monitoring analytic toolbox. Several important coral restoration and monitoring tools will be produced and made freely accessible to be shared with the broader coral restoration community.
CoralCarib is a joint program being implemented by a Consortium of four partners: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Fundación Dominicana de Estudios Marinos (FUNDEMAR), Fundación Grupo Puntacana (FGPC), and Alligator Head Foundation (AHF). The Consortium will also work with several implementing partner organizations in the target countries, including the Acuario Nacional de Cuba (ANC), Centro para la Conservación y Ecodesarrollo de la Bahía de Samaná y su Entorno (CEBSE), Haiti Ocean Project (HOP), Initiative pour l’Environnement et le Développement Intégré en Haïti (IEDIH), and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The Caribbean has ten percent of the world’s coral reefs, with 60% of the region’s reefs found in the four target countries. However, live coral cover has declined 60% in the past 20 years due to climate change and a range of other factors.