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Belize-based nonprofit organization Fragments of Hope helps Belize’s coral reefs come back after 2001, when the devastating hurricane Iris hit and destroyed almost all of the country’s reefs. Lisa Carne, a marine biologist, founded the project with a small amount of support from her funders. Her donors believed it would be impossible to build up the reef again.
“After Hurricane Iris, everyone in Placencia was saying the reef is dead. The general feeling was that the reef couldn’t be saved, and no one was interested in conservation projects,” said Carne to Euronews.green.
The method Carne and her team used is called fragmentation. Essentially it uses many corals ability to reproduce asexually. Using this method to transplant coral cuttings into destroyed and vulnerable areas opens up a way for the creation of new coral colonies.
Carne began creating coral nurseries in Placencia (a village in southern Belize) in order to use the cuttings to regenerate the destroyed parts of the reefs. Together with the local community, the team have spent more than 10 years planting new corals. People like tour guides, fishers, divers and snorkelers have been trained to nurse corals back to life.
Thanks to their efforts, the coral coverage has increased from 6% to an amazing 60%. These numbers make this site one of the most successful and long-standing regeneration sites in the world. Now, the organization works on expanding their conservation model to other parts of the country which is home to the second-longest reef in the world.
Projects like Fragments of Hope, who don’t give up and keep on fighting for a better and greener future, makes sure hope is not lost.