Title

Is gardening corals of opportunity the appropriate response to reverse Philippine reef decline?

College

College of Science

Department/Unit

Biology

Document Type

Article

Source Title

Restoration Ecology

Volume

26

Issue

6

First Page

1091

Last Page

1097

Publication Date

11-1-2018

Abstract

Hard coral cover (HCC) in the Philippines has been declining over the past decades. Restoration practices that utilize “gardening” corals of opportunity (COPs) are actively being adopted throughout the country. However, the use of COPs in coral gardening has not yet been examined in terms of its effectiveness in addressing nationwide-scale reef decline. The feasibility of using COPs for coral gardening was determined through a spreadsheet model that derives COP numbers needed to increase HCC in a reef. The model showed that 280,112 COPs of 5-cm radius need to be transplanted to increase HCC in a hectare of reef from 0% to 22%, the current national average. Annual COP mortality must be less than 31.5% to achieve an increase in HCC above 22% over a span of 10 years following a gardening effort. Actual counts and generic composition of available COPs were recorded from transects in 20 reef stations across three locations in the Philippines (Lian, Luzon; Lubang Island; and Balabac, Palawan). Natural COP densities suggest that large areas of healthy reefs must be searched to obtain enough COPs for an effective gardening effort. Furthermore, the COPs measured in Lian were below the recommended fragment size for transplantation, thus needing nursery rearing to attain the 5-cm radius prescribed for increased probability of transplant survivorship. These findings indicate that applying coral gardening at a nationwide scale is not likely to be feasible, effective, or sustainable. © 2018 Society for Ecological Restoration

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Digitial Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1111/rec.12683

Disciplines

Biology

Keywords

Coral reef restoration--Philippines; Coral declines--Philippines; Coral reef management--Philippines

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