Tropical islands face unique conservation challenges and are particularly susceptible to climate change. Sea-level rise, ocean warming and acidification, and loss of suitable climatic conditions for native species are some of the most serious threats of climate change. Coral reefs have been identified as a potential natural solution for reducing the risks of climate-related coastal flooding and erosion. As opposed to built infrastructure such as sea walls, coral reefs offer ecosystem services, are cheaper to construct, and are able to self-recover after disturbance.
Coral reef restoration is not a novel concept, but reef restoration under climate-change conditions introduces unprecedented challenges. Maunalua Bay is one of three pilot locations for a project called Restore with Resilience, which aims to restore coral reefs through the selective propagation of stress-resistant coral stocks in order to enhance the resilience of Hawaii’s coastlines and protect biodiversity (Restore with Resilience, 2019). Coral reef restoration is scheduled to begin in winter 2021. Prior to that date, restoration sites in Maunalua Bay need to be identified.