State of the knowledge on marine habitat restoration and literature review on the economic cost and benefits of marine and coastal ecosystem service restoration. Deliverable 1.3. MERCES Project.

D4 Published development or research report or study

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Papadopoulou N, Sevastou K, Smith C, Gerovasileiou V, Dailianis T, Fraschetti S, Guarnieri G, McOwen C, Billett D, Grehan A, Bakran-Petricioli T, Bekkby T, Bilan M, Boström C, Carreiro-Silva M, Carugati L, Cebrian E, Cerrano C, Danovaro R, Eronat EGT, Gagnon K, Gambi C, Kipson S, Kızılkaya IT, Kotta J, Linares C, Milanese M, Morato T, Papa L, Rinde E, Sarà A
Publisher: Merces
Publication year: 2017


Anthropogenic activities have had an accelerating impact on the marine world over the last 100
years. Increasing industrialisation, increasing use of resources, plus a build-up of populations on
the coastline has put a high degree of pressure on the marine environment causing widespread
habitat change, particularly coastal or near coastal, exacerbated by climate change. The
continuing loss of biodiversity linked to habitat degradation, may lead to the unprecedented
erosion of natural capital. It has been widely recognised that a range of different restoration
actions are essential to halt further habitat decline, and reverse the current trends of degradation
and species loss. This has led to the recognition of the needs for conservation and protection in
several key habitat types, and latterly, within the Convention on Biological Diversity and EU
Biodiversity Strategy for 2020, for 15% restoration targets of degraded ecosystems.

The scope of the MERCES D1.3 Report is to review the state of the knowledge of habitat
restoration to support the work surrounding restoration-related activities in the MERCES project.
In order to carry out the general objective, several reviews have been carried out, including: a
review of unassisted restoration (spontaneous regeneration), a structured review/synthesis of
peer-reviewed publications on active restoration, a state-of-the-art summary of the MERCES key
habitats/species/ecosystems with respect to restoration, a review of recent European and iconic
world-wide projects concerning marine restoration, and a structured review of the costs and
benefits in marine restoration. In addition, several relevant issues concerning restoration are
addressed, including; artificial reefs, restoring key structural species, removal of threats, No Net
Loss within a mitigation hierarchy, nature-based solutions, technologies and innovation, and
restoration feasibility.

There had been little consensus among scientists and practitioners as to what restoration is, with
many terms used interchangeably, including restoration, remediation, reparation, recuperation,
reconstruction, rehabilitation, and even re-creation. The Society of Ecological Restoration (SER)
defines ecological restoration as “the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has
been degraded, damaged, or destroyed”. A major dichotomy is also often described between
unassisted restoration or spontaneous regeneration (also called passive restoration) and so-called
active restoration involving direct human intervention. Recent approaches to deal with degraded
ecosystems call for the application of a family of restorative activities that can be carried out
simultaneously or sequentially. The first step to allow for natural recovery is the removal of
threats. This can be perceived as preventing harmful activities through regulatory management (from controlling/banning specific activities to creating Marine Protected Areas), or removing/adding barriers in an intervention to protect an ecosystem from further harm.

Last updated on 2020-10-07 at 06:09