KARANG LESTARI CORAL RESTORATION PROJECT
- Equator Prize 2012: United Nations Development Program Special Award for Marine and Coastal Zone Management, and the UNDP Equator Award for Community Based Development presented at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.
- PATA Gold Award (Pacific Asia Travel Ass.) For Best Environmental Project 2005
- ASENTA Award for Excellence (SE Asia Travel Agents) for Best Conservation Effort 2005
- Kalpataru Adipura Indonesia’s most prestigious environmental award presented by the President of Indonesia 2004
- SKAL’S World’s Best Underwater Eco-tourism Project 2002
- KONAS Award For Best Community-Based Coastal Zone Management Project in Indonesia 2002.
Initiative Description and Innovations
- Supporting community-based conservation and protection for all marine resources through education and regeneration programs
- Ensuring continual conservation through support from local communities, business owners, government, marine scientists and conservationists
- Restoring coral reef habitats to former natural beauty and increasing fisheries for sustainable ecotourism development
- Shifting fishermen’s destructive harvest methods to ecologically-friendly alternatives—converting fishermen from hunters to farmers
- Combating environmental degradation through reef rehabilitation and resource management
- Providing environmental education for tourists and the local population
- Diversifying livelihood opportunities
The project began in 2000 when the late Wolf Ililbertz and Tom Goreau built the first Biorock reefs in Pemuteran and taught the First Indonesian Biorock Coral Reef Restoration Training Workshop. Subsequent workshops trained hundreds of reef restorationists in hands-on construction of reefs, and now there are over 70 separate Biorock reefs in Pemuteran, with a total length well over half a kilometer, creating the world's largest and most successful coral reef restoration project. Pemuteran's corals had nearly all died from bleaching, high temperatures, sedimentation, and from reef bombing and use of poisons by fishermen, many from the outside. What had been a barren wasteland of dead coral, has now become a vibrant colorful coral reef, swarming with fish. This has restored the reef and fisheries and become a world famous ecotourism attraction. The project has greatly strengthened community-based management of their marine resources, and a previously declared but unenforced Village Marine Protected Area was set up around the project, and destructive fishing was put to a stop by strengthening community-based enforcement. The village is enormously proud that their own management efforts, set up purely with local resources (village taxes on hotels and dive shops and local contributions) without outside funding, has provided national leadership in environmental management and attracted world-wide attention as the world's leader in coral reef restoration. These achievements have been recognized through many national and international awards. Local hotels and dive shops led by Taman Sari Resort, Amertha Villas and Bali Diving Academy are all involved in the project help support it, educate guests, and support community environmental education and management initiatives to make Pemuteran not only a wonderful place for visitors, but to improve the quality of life for villagers through their own efforts. Schoolchildren use the project to learn about how to protect their own marine resources and propagate them for the future.
Yayasan Karang Lestari (Yayasan means Foundation, Karang means coral, and Lestari means protected in Bahasa Indonesia) has worked very closely since its formation with the Global Coral Reef Alliance, a world-wide non-profit organization made up of volunteers focusing on cutting edge coral reef research and management. GCRA scientists developed the Biorock method for coral reef restoration, and working with little or no money, has provided the scientific training for the Pemuteran community in how to grow back their reefs. This has created new jobs for local youngsters from fishing families who now work in the Biorock Center, diving and maintaining their reefs, transplanting corals, and removing pests like coral eating starfish and snails that could undo their efforts. Their success is leading to the formation of new groups for community-based environmental management of the watershed, to control the threats caused to the reef by erosion, garbage, and sewage, and the development of an environmental management plan for the future.
In April 2007 we opened the Bio-Rock Information Center. The salary of our local
staff and all maintenance of Karang Lestari Coral Restoration Project is almost all paid
for by the Sponsor the Baby Coral Project.
Please click on the picture to find out more.
The extraordinary recovery of bright coral reefs swarming with fish has made Pemuteran a hugely attractive stop for Indonesian Government policy makers looking for examples of success stories that could be replicated elsewhere. Over the last 10 years there have been repeated visits by successive Ministers of Tourism, Fisheries and Marine Affairs, Environment, and Energy. They in turn have repeatedly mentioned this project in international conferences, such as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. It is hoped that the success of the Karang Lestari project will influence the Indonesian Government to be perhaps the first in the world to make fisheries habitat restoration a major goal of national fisheries management. Unless Indonesia's coral reefs (the largest and most species-rich in the world, but of which only about 5% remains in excellent condition) are restored on a large scale, protecting the remaining good reef will not provide habitat for the seafood resources that provide around three quarters of national protein intake. Now the challenge is for the government to insist that international funding agencies help provide the resources needed for large scale coral reef fisheries restoration to feed future generations, instead putting money into setting up parks that prevent fishing.
Knowledge Sharing and Replication
Pemuteran has been the site of several major coral reef restoration training workshops that have attracted hundreds of participants from all over the world, with the majority being Indonesian students. Several research theses have been done on the project from Indonesian, German, and British universities. Many tourists surveyed in a thesis project had heard about Karang Lestari before they came, and said it was a factor in coming there. Almost all tourists know about it when they leave. These tourists come back again and again to watch the reefs evolve, and tell their friends to come and see. These word of mouth references have resulted in most Pemuteran hotels operating at nearly full capacity year-round. Press and film crews from Indonesia and all around the world have written many newspaper and magazine articles, there have been short pieces on major international TV networks in Indonesia, Britain, the US, Germany, France, Japan, and Australia and several full length documentaries. The success of the project has spawned similar projects in other parts of Indonesia, most notably Gili Trawangan near Lombok, and Sulawesi, Java, Flores, and Sumbawa, as well as in other parts of the world.
For more information on Biorock Technology please check the hundreds of articles, reports, photos, etc. on the GCRA site at http://www.globalcoral.org For scientific results please check the abstracts of nearly 20 papers presented this year at the World Conference on Ecological Restoration at: http://www.globalcoral.org/world_conference_on_ecological_r.htm