Benefits and costs of alternate seagrass restoration approaches

Integrated economic frameworks can be used to understand the trade-offs between different marine habitat restoration projects, and establish which restoration configurations will deliver the largest benefits relative to costs. Here we use a benefit-cost analysis to explore how key factors influence the viability of seagrass restoration projects in Western Australia. We compared the costs of: replanting and reseeding methods, professional and volunteer-based methods, urban and remote locations, and, different spatial extents. Economic benefits were estimated for the carbon sequestration capabilities of restored meadows, and for the non-market (intangible) values that seagrass habitats generate. With the exclusion of the professional-labour replanting scenarios, where costs exceeded benefits, all scenarios had positive net present values. Contingent on the assumptions made, the most worthwhile investments are larger-scale, volunteer-based restoration projects that employ the reseeding method.

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