Coral reef restoration has gained recent popularity in response to the steady decline of corals and the recognition that coral reefs may not be able to recover naturally without human intervention. To synthesize collective knowledge about reef restoration focused particularly on the
threatened genus Acropora in the Caribbean and western Atlantic, we conducted a literature review combined with personal communications with restoration practitioners and an online questionnaire to identify the most effective reef restoration methods and the major obstacles hindering
restoration success. Most participants (90%) strongly believe that Acropora populations are severely degraded, continue to decline, and may not recover without human intervention. Low-cost methods such as coral gardening and fragment stabilization were ranked as the most effective restoration
activities for this genus. High financial costs, the small footprint of restoration activities, and the potential damage to wild populations were identified as major concerns, while increased public awareness and education were ranked as the highest benefits of coral reef restoration. This
study highlights the advantages and outlines the concerns associated with coral reef restoration and creates a unique synthesis of coral restoration activities as a complementary management tool to help guide “best-practices” for future restoration efforts throughout the region.
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