Is it possible to restore algal forest on large areas? The French experience

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Thierry Thibaut, Aurélie Blanfune, Fabrice Javel, Candice Puissant

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The restoration of algal marine forests has been developing for about thirty years. In the Mediterranean, this work has only focused on Fucales of the genus Ericaria and Gongolaria (synomym Cystoseira). In France, three large-scale restoration projects have been carried out on Ericaria amentacea to re-vegetate areas where the species had disappeared and where the supposed disturbances had ceased. We used 3 different approaches, one of transplantation thousands of whole individuals partially protected against herbivores, one of simply using hundred of fertile branches and a last one using with fertile branches with an eco-design of the adapted receiving dike. The results show that whatever the approach there was recruitment and new individuals developed. However, the speed of colonization is very slow, a few individuals per year and these young recruits are subjected to significant predation by the herbivorous fish Sarpa salpa. In the absence of herbivore management, one can reasonably wonder whether the restoration of marine forests makes sense in the Mediterranean if predation by herbivores is not controlled. On marine infrastructures, new eco-designed housing techniques could provide a solution to this problem.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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