Nusa Penida Island
Restoring Bali's Coral Reefs
This project restores the degraded coral reefs on Nusa Penida Island in Bali, Indonesia. SeaTrees project partner, Ocean Gardener, employs local Balinese fishermen to restore the reef and monitor the regeneration until it can survive on its own.
In 2021, 6,000 fragments of coral were planted and in May 2022 we expanded the project to a new restoration site in Crystal Bay and are planting another 6,000 coral fragments. We also began the process of scientific monitoring using 3D mapping technology with Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
The conservation of these ecosystems is vital to coastal protection, scientific research, medication, fishing, eco-tourism, and more. Restoring these reefs will provide a habitat for more than 500 species of fish, many of which are currently considered vulnerable to extinction, and create 20 jobs for local villagers, supporting 12 families.
This is important because coral reefs are threatened globally. About half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost in the last 30 years. More than 60% of the remaining reefs are threatened by human activity, with Indonesia being one of the largest areas of vulnerability. Known as the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs are the largest living structures on earth and support 25% of marine life.
The Coral Restoration Process
This coral restoration process begins with growing coral fragments in the shallow waters of the Ped Acropora Coral Nursery. These fragments grow and bond to biodegradable rope lines until they are large enough to be transplanted to the restoration sites on Nusa Penida Island at Ped and Crystal Bay. This innovative technique, adapted from a traditional Balinese method used to grow seaweed, ensures that the coral fragments will grow to be appropriately spaced and that the ecosystem will thrive in the years to come.
Once the coral has been cultivated, a snorkeling team transplants the newly grown fragments onto the reef, slowly dropping them at the restoration site on the ocean floor and securing it in place. Divers prepare the restoration site by hammering stakes into the ground to allow for the rope lines to be secured in place on the reef without the fragments touching the ocean floor until they grow large enough to withstand the harsh “rubble” environment below. Planting these fragments amongst healthy reefs will allow the ecosystem to thrive and help marine life return to the area.
SeaTrees partners with Ocean Gardener, a local Indonesian non-profit organization with over 20 years of hands-on experience farming coral that are key to restoration and biodiversity. Their team of marine biologists, divers, and coral farmers is dedicated to restoring the degraded reefs while educating the local community on best practices to protect the reefs moving forward.
This coral restoration will provide a habitat for more than 500 species of fish, many of which are currently considered vulnerable to extinction. As more people live closer to reefs in Indonesia than anywhere else in the world, at this time the project will create 20 jobs for local villagers and support 12 families.
Creating 3D Models of the Restored Reef
With the help of Scripps Institution of Oceanography we developed a new technique to create 3D models of the coral reef. GoPro cameras are used to collect 3D photogrammetry data from the SeaTrees coral restoration site, which is then used to create a model using 10 billion points of data. This model can be used by scientists to remotely evaluate the success of reef restoration. You can see this recent video of our restoration site on Nusa Penida Island in Bali, Indonesia.