A global platform for kelp forest restoration projects

Kelp forests cover one third of the world’s coastlines and support hundreds of millions of people, but they are disappearing fast. The Kelp Forest Alliance is a new platform dedicated to developing a global movement to protect, enhance, and restore these kelp forests around the world.

The Kelp Forest Alliance is an open-access global database that tracks kelp forest restoration projects all around the world and allows anyone to learn from hundreds of projects spanning decades of practice. Members can also post their own restoration initiatives, share their achievements and failures, and contribute to a better understanding of kelp restoration around the world.

Aaron Eger of UNSW, who is the Program Director for the Kelp Forest Alliance and the database’s developer, said that the database “means that we can fast expedite kelp restoration initiatives around the world, by sharing not just what works but also what doesn’t.”

Behind every restoration project is a person, community, or organization dedicated to rebuilding a healthy kelp forest and improving their marine backyard. The Kelp Forest Alliance Community hub brings these groups together and creates an open collaborative community for people ask questions, share ideas, and build new connections to help advance kelp forests.

“Talking to people, we found that they would be exceptionally passionate about their local kelp forest but they weren’t sure how to seek expert advice or connect with people from different backgrounds” says Mr. Eger. The Kelp Forest Alliance community platform breaks down those barriers and connects anyone interested in kelp forests, from conservationists to businesses to governments to artists, all are welcome.

The work does not stop here, kelp forests are continually threatened across our world’s seas. To that end, the Kelp Forest Alliance is convening a meeting of global restoration experts at the International Seaweed Symposium in Hobart, Australia in February 2023. Here they will set an ambitious goal for kelp restoration and to map the best ways to accelerate learning so that we can truly advance the mission of restoring our globally important underwater forests.

Source: Aaron Eger, kelpforestalliance.com

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