That target is set up with two goals, the first in 2030 and the second in 2040. We acknowledge that this is an evolving field and the 2030 target will be less than 1⁄2 the final 2040 value. The 2030 goals are 200,000 ha restored and 1 million hectares protected.
We include seaweeds both in the Order Laminariales and Fucales in this work. While taxonomically different, they provide very similar functions in the environment.
The challenge is open and inclusive. We invite all people and organizations to join us in this work. These groups include but are not limited to federal governments, aboriginal governments, businesses, research institutions, philanthropists, local government, not-for-profits, community groups, international organizations, artists, educators.
Kelp forests are connected to many parts of our society. Similarly, there are many ways people and organizations can support kelp forests. Depending on your capacity, you and your organization may participate by
One of our greatest strengths is the brilliant network of people and organizations involved in kelp forest conservation and restoration around the world. We encourage collaboration between these members and can facilitate working groups to address the pressing problems facing the field.
The target was officially launched in Hobart on February 19th 2023 at a world first kelp conservation summit.
The overall target relates to the area of kelp forest protected or restored. While area is a useful proxy of progress, it fails to capture the diversity of benefits that come from healthy kelp forests. It also fails to capture the diversity of the different pledges that can contribute to healthy kelp forests. Therefore, we are tracking the benefits of kelp forests, such as the number of jobs created, fisheries biomass produced, or carbon cycled. We can also track the different types of support that are being provided, such as funding pledged, number of organizations involved in restoration, or art projects.
There are many useful metrics that are associated with a kelp forest, e.g., fisheries biomass restored, jobs created, collaborations, capacity developed. These are all meaningful values, but their relative importance may vary from region to region. For instance, one area may prioritize training people in restoration while another may value the fisheries biomass provided by a kelp forest. Therefore, we are not setting a global target based on these other metrics. We do encourage local groups and collectives to set these types of targets based on their local conditions. We will support and promote these sub targets wherever needed.
It is important that we have a single unified target to work towards. But we recognize that different geographies have differing goals, natural kelp cover, and investment capabilities. Therefore, we suggest working with participants to create regional sub goals for their local conditions. These sub goals would connect directly to the overall goal but allow for the celebration and recognition of local efforts.
The challenge is being tracked on the Kelp Forest Alliance platform. This platform already maintains an active database of restoration projects, is free to join, and is dedicated to building a global movement to restore our world’s kelp forests. We have also created a rich community of practice which involves hundreds of people from over 20 countries and have sector of society.
We are working with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s kelp forest restoration typology. This work is based on an accepted framework for terrestrial ecosystems but has been tailored for kelp forest conservation and restoration. Broadly, the categories are:
If you have further questions, about the qualified activities, please contact us.
Kelp forests are disappearing as we speak. The goal of this initiative is to encourage and facilitate positive actions and communities which can protect what is remaining and restore what has been lost. We believe that the cost of inaction while we compile more data is greater than the risk of encouraging action based on robust yet incomplete data.
Short answer, yes. While warming waters have caused and will continue to cause declines in kelp forests, the losses will be much worse without protection and restoration. We encourage all participants and pledgees to the challenge to consider how they can cut their own emissions and support emissions reductions in their own country. While we may not be able to halt climate change by restoring a kelp forest, we believe it is an important contribution. We further hope that the positive action we are putting forward helps shift the conversation to a more equitable and sustainable future, not just for kelp forests. All activities related to this challenge will have an option for online attendance to minimize travel and as many meetings as possible will be held remotely. Catering for any events will be carbon light. Any travel related to our work will be offset and we encourage participants to do the same. If you have suggestions about how we can decrease our carbon footprint, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We would love to work with governments to achieve these targets. In fact, it is not possible to make this happen without government support. However we do not think we have time to wait for an international collation of governments to form and create a target. The need to act is too pressing and there are no such targets proposed in the future. We also appreciate that this is a grassroots effort, carried out by the people and organizations working in and for kelp forests. We think this is one of our greatest strengths.