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Building a Coral Garden in Bali

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Written by Grace Easteria


Diver Coral restoration PadangBai Bali. Coral restoration bali, coral planting bali, Padangbai’s coral reef ecosystem. CarbonEthics Indonesia

Once home to an impressive fringing reef ecosystem, Padangbai’s waters are now mainly dominated by dead pieces of coral, otherwise known as rubble. In collaboration with Living seas Asia and Baruna Scientific Diving Club, CarbonEthics embarked upon a joint mission to plant over 1000 baby corals in an effort to rehabilitate Padangbai’s damaged coral reef ecosystem.

Although Padangbai is a small village, it is known for being a busy port for ferries and fast boats connecting Bali to the nearby islands of Lombok and Nusa Penida. But underneath all the hustle and bustle, Padangbai was once home to a pristine marine ecosystem. However, due to factors such as urban development, oil runoff, marine debris pollution, destructive fishing and unsustainable tourism practices, the majority of the corals have been destroyed and turned to rubble.

Coral restoration bali, coral planting bali, Padangbai’s coral reef ecosystem. CarbonEthics Indonesia

The people of Padangbai are mainly employed in the tourism industry, oftentimes taking guests out to snorkel around what’s left of the coral ecosystem. Restoring the corals would also mean restoring one of the locals’ sources of livelihood, which is why we partnered with Livingseas Asia, a dive operator based in Padangbai, to help rehabilitate the damaged coral reefs.

Coral restoration bali, coral planting bali, Padangbai’s coral reef ecosystem. CarbonEthics Indonesia

During the days leading up to the coral planting activity, we collected baby corals of the acropora species from a nearby acropora field. Fighting strong currents, our team of divers collected six baskets of acropora corals from a depth of up to 12 metres. In choosing which corals to use for planting, we made sure to only collect corals that were already hanging on loosely to the sediment, indicating that they will eventually detach and die of natural causes.

The corals are then broken down into fragments, or baby corals, ready for planting. Working together, we planted the baby corals on a coral planting structure, which is shaped like a seagate. Using cable ties, we secured the baby corals tightly against the structure to ensure they will stay on. In the end, we planted approximately 1872 baby corals.

This project was also carried out in collaboration with Carbon EcoTrip’s #TravelCooler campaign. By booking a climate-positive trip with Carbon EcoTrip, divers from outside of CarbonEthics were able to participate in our coral planting activities and gain a deeper understanding of the climate crisis, and how to travel smarter and more consciously through nature-driven experiences.


Coral restoration in PadangBai Bali. Coral restoration bali, coral planting bali, Padangbai’s coral reef ecosystem. CarbonEthics Indonesia

Livingseas and CarbonEthics will continue to monitor the corals planted to ensure not just the corals’ survival, but that of Padangbai’s coral reef ecosystem as a whole.





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