A Diversity of Tools

In the table below, you can see a simple overview of some of the times when each of the three types of restoration is called for, but keep in mind that each will need multiple actions, and the needs will change as the ecosystem changes.

Restoration includes different types and tools that serve specific purposes. However, some tools can be used for multiple functions, leading to overlap between these types.

In most cases, no single solution will solve the reef’s problems. It takes multiple solutions across a broad spatial and temporal scale to achieve the desired results. Often this is referred to as the “Ridge to Reef” model.

In the Ridge to Reef Model, we are aware of all the underlying and interconnected processes that influence reef health and consider the health of all upstream environments. Because many of the issues on the reef stem from activities on land, we need to have a holistic view of this relationship when managing the ecosystem.


Every tool that the reef manager has access to, such as the ones we briefly covered in the last three topics, will need to be used when called for. Any programs that rely on purely one method to protect or restore their reefs and do little to appraise requirements over time will likely fail.

Instead, we need to take a holistic approach in all we do, utilizing all the tools available and continuing to adapt and be dynamic in our methods and objectives as the ecosystem changes and new threats arise. Our programs have proven to be some of the most successful in the world in large part because they take a holistic and genetic approach, focusing on resilience. Thinking this way will be a reoccurring theme as you go through the rest of this course and move on to our other restoration courses.

Video Lecture (optional)

This short (12+ minutes) video explains a lot of what we have covered so far in this lesson. If you want a review and a bit more context before moving on, check it out.

In this lesson, you have learned about the three general types of coral reef restoration and briefly introduced the methods used to address their objectives. In the next lesson, we will discuss the three-step coral restoration system and how it utilizes many of the theories and techniques we have discussed so far. We will also discuss the importance of always considering species and genetic diversity in all of our work to improve reef resilience and help ensure that we are setting ourselves up for success.

But first, let’s check in with a short quiz.