Abstract Restoration is becoming a vital tool to counteract coastal ecosystem degradation. Modifying transplant designs of habitat-forming organisms from dispersed to clumped can amplify coastal restoration yields as it generates self-facilitation from emergent traits, i.e. traits not expressed by individuals or small clones, but that emerge in clumped individuals or large clones. Here, we advance restoration science by mimicking key emergent traits that locally suppress physical stress using biodegradable establishment structures. Experiments across (sub)tropical and temperate seagrass and salt marsh systems demonstrate greatly enhanced yields when individuals are transplanted within structures mimicking emergent traits that suppress waves or sediment mobility. Specifically, belowground mimics of dense root mats most facilitate seagrasses via sediment stabilization, while mimics of aboveground plant structures most facilitate marsh grasses by reducing stem movement. Mimicking key emergent traits may allow upscaling of restoration in many ecosystems that depend on self-facilitation for persistence, by constraining biological material requirements and implementation costs.
This content will become publicly available on October 12, 2023
Greater Consideration of Animals Will Enhance Coastal Restoration Outcomes
Abstract As efforts to restore coastal habitats accelerate, it is critical that investments are targeted to most effectively mitigate and reverse habitat loss and its impacts on biodiversity. One likely but largely overlooked impediment to effective restoration of habitat-forming organisms is failing to explicitly consider non-habitat-forming animals in restoration planning, implementation, and monitoring. These animals can greatly enhance or degrade ecosystem function, persistence, and resilience. Bivalves, for instance, can reduce sulfide stress in seagrass habitats and increase drought tolerance of saltmarsh vegetation, whereas megaherbivores can detrimentally overgraze seagrass or improve seagrass seed germination, depending on the context. Therefore, understanding when, why, and how to directly manipulate or support animals can enhance coastal restoration outcomes. In support of this expanded restoration approach, we provide a conceptual framework, incorporating lessons from structured decision-making, and describe potential actions that could lead to better restoration outcomes using case studies to illustrate practical approaches.
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- 1088 to 1098
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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