The Kelp Forest Challenge: A collaborative global movement to protect and restore 4 million hectares of kelp forests

Aaron Matthius Eger, J. David Aguirre, María Altamirano, Nur Arafeh-Dalmau, Nina Larissa Arroyo, Anne M. Bauer-Civiello, Rodrigo Beas-Luna, Trine Bekkby, Scott Bennett, Blanca Bernal, Caitlin O. Blain, Jordi Boada, Simon Branigan, Jasmine Bursic, Bruno Cevallos, Chang Geun Choi, Sean D. Connell, Christopher Edward, Hannah Scarlett Earp, Norah EddyAaron Matthius, Lee Ann Ennis, Annalisa Falace, Ana Margarida Ferreira, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Hunter Forbes, Prue Francis, Joao N. Franco, Karen Gray Geisler, Anita Giraldo-Ospina, Alejandra V. Gonzalez, Swati Hingorani, Rietta Hohman, Ljiljana Iveša, Sara Kaleb, John P. Keane, Sophie J.I. Koch, Kira Krumhansl, Lydia Ladah, Dallas J. Lafont, Cayne Layton, Duong Minh Le, Lynn Chi Lee, Scott D. Ling, Steve I. Lonhart, Luis Malpica-Cruz, Luisa Mangialajo, Amy McConnell, Tristin Anoush McHugh, Fiorenza Micheli, Kelsey Irene Miller, Margalida Monserrat, Juan Montes-Herrera, Bernabé Moreno, Christopher J. Neufeld, Shane Orchard, Betsy Peabody, Ohad Peleg, Albert Pessarrodona, Jacqueline B. Pocklington, Simon E. Reeves, Aurora M. Ricart, Finnley Ross, Federica Romina Schanz, Maria Schreider, Mohammad Sedarat, Shannen M. Smith, Samuel Starko, Elisabeth M.A. Strain, Laura Tamburello, Brian Timmer, Jodie E. Toft, Roberto A. Uribe, Sander W.K. van den Burg, Julio A. Vásquez, Reina J. Veenhof, Thomas Wernberg, Georgina Wood, José Alberto Zepeda-Domínguez, Adriana Vergès

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Marine kelp forests cover 1/3 of our world's coastlines, are heralded as a nature-based solution to address socio-environmental issues, connect hundreds of millions of people with the ocean, and support a rich web of biodiversity throughout our oceans. But they are increasingly threatened with some areas reporting over 90% declines in kelp forest cover in living memory. Despite their importance and the threats they face, kelp forests are entirely absent from the international conservation dialogue. No international laws, policies, or targets focus on kelp forests and very few countries consider them in their national policy. The Kelp Forest Challenge addresses that gap. Together with 252 kelp experts, professionals, and citizens from 25 countries, the Kelp Forest Challenge was developed as a grassroots vision of what the world can achieve for kelp forest conservation. It is a global call to restore 1 million and protect 3 million hectares of kelp forests by 2040. This is a monumental challenge, that will require coordination across multiple levels of society and the mobilization of immense resources. Pledges may therefore include area for protection or restoration, enabling pledges which assist in conservation (funding, equipment, professional expertise, capacity building), or awareness-based pledges which increase awareness or education about kelp forests. Correspondingly, participants may be from government, scientific institutions, private sector, NGOs, community groups, or individuals. This challenge is the beginning of a 17-year mission to save our kelp forests and anyone and any organisation is invited to participate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-964
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number2
Early online date9 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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