July 4, 2018
Innovative coral reef restoration in Palawan Biosphere Reserve, Philippines
News Source: UNESCO
The Pagatalan Island, which forms part of the Palawan Biosphere Reserve (Philippines), operates as an effective living laboratory for conservation and sustainable development through cooperation between the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and the Sulubaai Foundation (SEF). It combines nature conservation with sustainable tourism, mangrove restoration and community development.
The Pangatalan Marine Protected Area is the site of successful coral reef restoration processes based on innovative techniques developed by the Sulubaai Environmental Foundation. The coral reef restoration programme aims to restore severe damage to coral reefs around the island and increase the resilience of this vital ecological system.
Two complementary techniques are used depending on the existing conditions. Where solid structures are available, nails and steel wire are used to attach corals to natural pavements. In their absence, the programme uses an innovative Sulu-Reef Prosthesis (SRP), a durable module made of reinforced concrete, designed and engineered by SEF in 2016. There are three models corresponding to different sizes, all of which have been designed and manufactured on Pangatalan Island using a unique and durable steel moulder.
The SRP functions as a structural prosthesis for coral reefs that have experienced a high level of mortality and have lost structural strength. Their use promotes resiliency among natural reefs and coral regrowth. They are not designed to create artificial reefs or new reefs. The SRPs are dispersed in groups to cover a larger area and then integrated into the natural relief. Depending on the species and environmental conditions, coral tissue overgrowth takes place after one to two months and skeleton overgrowth after two to four months.