Restoration of marine ecosystems: understanding possible futures for optimal outcomes

Sheaves, M., Waltham, N.J., Benham, C., Bradley, M., Mattone, C., Diedrich, A., Sheaves, J., Sheaves, A., Hernandez, S., Dale, P., Banhalmi-Zakar, Z., and Newlands, M. (2021) Restoration of marine ecosystems: understanding possible futures for optimal outcomes. Science of the Total Environment, 796. 148845.

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Accelerating declines in the extent, quality and functioning of the world's marine ecosystems have generated an upsurge in focus on practical solutions, with ecosystem restoration becoming an increasingly attractive mitigation strategy for systems as diverse as coral reefs, mangroves and tidal flats. While restoration is popular because it promises positive outcomes and a return to something approaching unimpacted condition and functioning, it involves substantial public and private investment, both for the initial restoration activity and for on-going maintenance of the restored asset. This investment often affords one big chance to get things right before irretrievable damage is done. As a result, precise, well considered and accountable decision-making is needed to determine the specific focus for restoration, the scale of restoration, the location for deploying restoration activities, and indeed whether or not restoration is necessary or even possible. We explore the environmental/ecological considerations and constraints governing optimal decisions about the nature, location and prioritisation of restoration activities in marine ecosystems, and in particular the constraints on achieving understanding of possible futures and the likelihood of achieving them. We conclude that action must be informed by a context-specific understanding of the historical situation, the current situation, the constraints on change, the range of potential outcome scenarios, and the potential futures envisioned.

Item ID: 68956
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Copyright Information: © 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2021 23:41
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440704 Environment policy @ 55%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified @ 45%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180507 Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments @ 20%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1902 Environmental policy, legislation and standards > 190299 Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified @ 80%
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