Monday, 5 June 2017

Protecting and restoring nature in the Indo-Pacific region

Today we celebrate World Environment Day, the United Nations’ day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.

World Environment Day is the people’s day for taking care of the Earth and becoming an agent of change.  Much of our work contributes to this aim. Currently ACIAR has projects throughout the Indo-Pacific region to protect and restore nature.

We are using large numbers of coral larvae to actively restore damaged coral communities and reef habitats off the Philippines. Corals form the foundation of reefs and provide habitats for fish and other valuable resources, while millions of people depend on healthy reefs.  This builds on a pilot study which showed that restored corals could grow to reproductive size and spawn within three years.

The Pacific Islands, Australia’s closest neighbours, are affected by cyclones, severe storms, floods and earthquakes.  Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015, and Cyclone Winston (February–March 2016) damaged Fiji’s aquaculture.  We rebuilt aquaculture hatcheries in Fiji and Vanuatu and are helping Fiji’s pearl industry to recover.  Another project is saving the Pacific regional genebank for coconut.  It will move the existing genebank to a safer place in Papua New Guinea, collect samples from around the Pacific, and establish back-up collections in Fiji and Samoa.

The earthquakes of 2015 killed 9,000 people in Nepal and injured 22,000 more.  One project in Nepal uses timber from community forests to help locals rebuild after the earthquake, and is establishing a sustainable forestry industry. 

Our research makes more productive and sustainable agriculture possible and makes food systems more resilient. Part of our work is to manage the challenges to agriculture from a changing climate and bring potential and change to those who need it most.

By Nick Fuller

Read more about our projects here:

Restoring damaged coral reefs using mass coral larval reseeding

Improving community-based aquaculture in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa and Vanuatu 
Pearl industry research infrastructure recovery post- cyclone Winston, Fiji

Optimising tissue culture of coconut in support of saving the Pacific regional genebank

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