Thanks to the efforts of local resident Pak Dodent, coral destroyed around Sumatra by the 2004 tsunami is now making a remarkably recovery.

Dodent lives on the island of Pulau Wey off the north coast of Sumatra and the narrow channel between his small village Ibioh and a nearby island was particularly devastated by the enormous forces unleashed by the tsunami.

It was like a washing machine out there and all of the coral was broken,” Dodent explained to a reporter from the Telegraph. Afterwards I thought to myself what can I do to make the coral grow again and I started to experiment.

After some experimentation, Dodent decided to aid the corals by dropping concrete mounds over the sandy bottom, since reef building corals need a suitable surface to attach them selves to. He creates the concrete mounds by pouring concrete into a bucket, and he also embeds a plastic bottle or tube into the concrete so that a part of the plastic sticks up.

When the concrete is set, the devoted reef gardener drops his mounds by boat in the shallow waters near the beach and leaves them there for a month to allow any potentially harmful chemicals present in the concrete to dissipate. After that, he carefully begins to transplant corals to the mounds by harvesting small patches of corals from the healthy reef on the far side of the island. “I am careful to only take a little from here and there so that I don’t affect the healthy eco system”, says Dodent.

Dodent uses cable ties to attach the transplants to the plastic bottles and tubes to prevent the corals from being dislocated by water movements.

Almost four years after the tsunami, Dodent’s coral garden is now covered with coral and has attracted an abundance of fishes and other animals. The coral is thriving and there is virtually impossible to the underlying concrete mounds. The garden currently comprises over 200 square metres and is home to over 25 different species of coral.

To prevent algae from overgrowing the new coral and killing it, Dodent regularly cleans infested coral patches with a toothbrush, but fishes and other coral eating organisms will soon alleviate him of this task. “I monitor and clean it for one year, after that it is up to the fishes,” he says.

Dodent has now recently received a small grant from Fauna and Flora International to develop his project.