Principles and key concepts for ecological restoration in the deep-sea

Telmo Morato

Publication Date:

The Society of Ecological Restoration updated the International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration, including principles and six key concepts. The aim of this document was to “provide support for the technical application of ecological restoration across geographic and ecological areas to improve biodiversity conservation outcomes for all ecosystems, secure the delivery of ecosystem services, ensure projects are integrated with socio-cultural needs and realities, and contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. In this talk we will present work carried out under the MERCES project; in particular how lessons learned from terrestrial and shallow water restoration along with previous deep-sea restoration work can be used to evaluate principles, concepts, and guidelines for ecological restoration of deep-sea ecosystems. We will discuss the challenges posed to describing local native reference ecosystem and identifying and measuring key attributes in the deep-sea using four case studies, requiring different degrees of intervention to assist their natural recovery processes. They include cold-water coral ecosystems in the Azores impacted by deep-water fishing (coral transplantation), soft bottom communities in the Mediterranean impacted by rock drilling activities (natural regeneration), abyssal plain communities in nodule-rich areas of the Pacific of interest to deep-sea mining (replacement with chemically-conditioned artificial nodules), and a hydrothermal vent field in the mid-Atlantic that may also be impacted by deep-sea mining (replacement of structures to speed up the development of hydrothermal vent chimneys). We will also discuss knowledge gaps, time scales, uncertainties, and challenges to deep sea restoration.

Resource Type:

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration