Assessing the feasibility of restoring giant kelp forests in Tasmania - Final Report
This report examines whether warm water tolerant giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) exists among remnant Tasmanian giant kelp habitat, and if so, assesses their use in restoration trials. Giant kelp forests were previously common in Tasmanian waters, but ~95% declines of giant kelp cover over recent decades led to Federal listing as an endangered community. This decline is related to changes in regional oceanography and ocean warming, and while restoration is one possible conservation approach, any intervention must consider these ongoing threats. Using spores from remnant giant kelp we established a collection of 48 unique kelp cultures or ‘family-lines’. Thermal tolerance experiments found ~10% of the family-lines showed significant warm water tolerance. These ‘super kelp’ were then used in restoration trials, with several hundred juvenile giant kelp now established at two field sites. This project has progressed selective breeding of kelp and innovative restoration interventions.
Assisting recovery of seagrass in Shark Bay, Gathaagudu - Final Report
This report outlines the findings of a collaborative project between University of Western Australia scientists and the Malgana Traditional Owners to assist recovery of seagrasses in Gathaagudu (Shark Bay) following the 2011 marine heat wave. It presents the results of field-based methods designed to assist seagrass restoration and the outcomes of these efforts for restoring ecosystem function of seagrasses. Furthermore, we provide a framework for planning future restoration activities, with step-by step examples. Suggestions are provided for the next steps in assisting people and seagrass ecosystems to heal sea country.
The Australian Coastal Restoration Network (ACRN) restoration projects database compiles data from numerous coastal and marine restoration projects located in Australia and New Zealand. As a first version, the data was obtained from publicly available data sources and publications, and from organisations that are conducting restoration projects on corals, mangroves, saltmarsh, seagrass, kelp and shellfish reefs. The ACRN Database is an evolving tool that will be periodically updated with new projects and outputs as they are submitted. Version 1 of the database represents the final deliverable for the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project E5 'The role of restoration in conserving matters of national environmental significance'.
Baseline genomic data collection and assisting natural recovery of seagrass meadows
The goal of NESP Project E6 is to work alongside the Malgana Traditional Owners to assist recovery of the dominant seagrasses, Amphibolis antarctica and Posidonia australis following the 2011 marine heat wave. Therefore, this project has been developed and implemented with consultation and collaboration between UWA scientists and the Malgana people. Collectively, we have established strong lines of communication and coordinated processes for conducting field work, organising and implementing workshops, engaging in ecological and restoration training exercises and practice, as well as brainstorming and organising upcoming community events, including the seagrass festival to be held in April 2021 in Denham, Shark Bay.
Our project successfully (i) developed baseline restoration genetic diversity and connectivity data of the two impacted seagrasses which was used to select plants and sites for restoration, and (ii) by incorporating the baseline genetic information, assisted the natural recovery of seagrass meadows through the collection of reproductive and vegetative propagules for on-ground restoration activities within selected sites.
UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 - What Chance for Success in Restoring Coastal Ecosystems?
This paper looks at whether the United Nations Declaration of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 can be properly applied to coastal ecosystems. The paper describes what coastal ecosystems are, why they are important, what is currently threatening them and why they are declining. The authors examine what will be required to restore coastal ecosystems successfully over the next decade, including the capability and capacity of states to conduct restoration, the availability of trans-disciplinary teams, policy, and funding availability.
Seagrass restoration is possible: Insights and lessons from Australia and New Zealand.
Seagrasses are important marine ecosystems situated throughout the world’s coastlines. They are facing declines around the world due to global and local threats such as rising ocean temperatures, coastal development and pollution from sewage outfalls and agriculture. Efforts have been made to reduce seagrass loss through reducing local and regional stressors, and through active restoration. Seagrass restoration is a rapidly maturing discipline, but improved restoration practices are needed to enhance the success of future programs. Major gaps in knowledge remain, however, prior research efforts have provided valuable insights into factors influencing the outcomes of restoration and there are now several examples of successful large-scale restoration programs. A variety of tools and techniques have recently been developed that will improve the efficiency, cost effectiveness, and scalability of restoration programs. This review describes several restoration successes in Australia and New Zealand, with a focus on emerging techniques for restoration, key considerations for future programs, and highlights the benefits of increased collaboration, Traditional Owner (First Nation) and stakeholder engagement. Combined, these lessons and emerging approaches show that seagrass restoration is possible, and efforts should be directed at upscaling seagrass restoration into the future. This is critical for the future conservation of this important ecosystem and the ecological and coastal communities they support.
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.