Photo credit: Alejandro Perez-Matus.

Surveying Lessonia kelp forests in Chile. Photo credit: Alejandro Perez-Matus.

Alone a drop, together an ocean. The Kelp Forest Alliance is a newly created platform dedicated to advancing a global movement to protect, enhance, and restore our world’s kelp forests. These underwater forests cover hundreds of thousands of kilometers of coastline and are connected to people all around the world.

The project is home to an open-access, global database that tracks kelp forest restoration projects across the globe and provides anyone the opportunity to learn from hundreds of projects across decades of practice. Members can also upload their own restoration projects, promote their successes, share their failures, and contribute to the global understanding of kelp restoration.

Program Director for the Kelp Forest Alliance and creator of the database Aaron Eger from UNSW says that this database “means that we can quickly accelerate kelp restoration projects worldwide, by sharing not just what works but also what doesn’t work”.

Photo credit: J.K. Gitmark

                                                        Seeded kelp lines in Norway. Photo credit: J.K. Gitmark

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.

Photo credit: Ryan Miller.

Removing sea urchins for a kelp restoration project in Gwaii Haanas, Canada. Photo credit: Ryan Miller.

Source: Kelp Restoration Alliance