Global analysis of seagrass restoration: the importance of large-scale planting

van Katwijk, Marieke M., Thorhaug, Anitra, Marba, Núria, Orth, Robert J., Duarte, Carlos M., Kendrick, Gary A., Althuizen, Inge H. J., Balestri, Elena, Bernard, Guillaume, Cambridge,Marion L., Cunha, Alexandra, Durance, Cynthia, Giesen, Wim, Han, Qiuying, Hosokawa, Shinya, Kiswara, Wawan, Komatsu, Teruhisa, Lardicci, Claudio, Lee, Kun-Seop, Meinesz, Alexandre, Nakaoka, Masahiro, O'Brien, Katherine R., Paling, Erik I., Pickerell, Chris, Ransijn, Aryan M. A. and Verduin,Jennifer J. (2016) Global analysis of seagrass restoration: the importance of large-scale planting. Journal of Applied Ecology, 53 2: 567-578. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12562

Author van Katwijk, Marieke M.
Thorhaug, Anitra
Marba, Núria
Orth, Robert J.
Duarte, Carlos M.
Kendrick, Gary A.
Althuizen, Inge H. J.
Balestri, Elena
Bernard, Guillaume
Cambridge,Marion L.
Cunha, Alexandra
Durance, Cynthia
Giesen, Wim
Han, Qiuying
Hosokawa, Shinya
Kiswara, Wawan
Komatsu, Teruhisa
Lardicci, Claudio
Lee, Kun-Seop
Meinesz, Alexandre
Nakaoka, Masahiro
O'Brien, Katherine R.
Paling, Erik I.
Pickerell, Chris
Ransijn, Aryan M. A.
Verduin,Jennifer J.
Title Global analysis of seagrass restoration: the importance of large-scale planting
Journal name Journal of Applied Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2664
Publication date 2016-04-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1365-2664.12562
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 53
Issue 2
Start page 567
End page 578
Total pages 12
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
1. In coastal and estuarine systems, foundation species like seagrasses, mangroves, saltmarshes or corals provide important ecosystem services. Seagrasses are globally declining and their reintroduction has been shown to restore ecosystem functions. However, seagrass restoration is often challenging, given the dynamic and stressful environment that seagrasses often grow in.
2. From our world-wide meta-analysis of seagrass restoration trials (1786 trials), we describe general features and best practice for seagrass restoration. We confirm that removal of threats is important prior to replanting. Reduced water quality (mainly eutrophication), and construction activities led to poorer restoration success than, for instance, dredging, local direct impact and natural causes. Proximity to and recovery of donor beds were positively correlated with trial performance. Planting techniques can influence restoration success.
3. The meta-analysis shows that both trial survival and seagrass population growth rate in trials that survived are positively affected by the number of plants or seeds initially transplanted. This relationship between restoration scale and restoration success was not related to trial characteristics of the initial restoration. The majority of the seagrass restoration trials have been very small, which may explain the low overall trial survival rate (i.e. estimated 37%).
4. Successful regrowth of the foundation seagrass species appears to require crossing a minimum threshold of reintroduced individuals. Our study provides the first global field evidence for the requirement of a critical mass for recovery, which may also hold for other foundation species showing strong positive feedback to a dynamic environment.
5. Synthesis and applications. For effective restoration of seagrass foundation species in its typically dynamic, stressful environment, introduction of large numbers is seen to be beneficial and probably serves two purposes. First, a large-scale planting increases trial survival – large numbers ensure the spread of risks, which is needed to overcome high natural variability. Secondly, a large-scale trial increases population growth rate by enhancing self-sustaining feedback, which is generally found in foundation species in stressful environments such as seagrass beds. Thus, by careful site selection and applying appropriate techniques, spreading of risks and enhancing self-sustaining feedback in concert increase success of seagrass restoration.
Keyword Allee effect
Coastal ecosystems
Ecosystem recovery
Global restoration trajectories
Positive feedback
Seagrass mitigation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 25 November 2015

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Chemical Engineering Publications
Official 2016 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 21 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 21 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 08 Mar 2016, 10:22:01 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)