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.
- 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
Initiative Description and Innovations
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.