Offset habitat loss from human activity by restoring or creating habitats elsewhere

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    45%
  • Certainty
    20%
  • Harms
    0%

Study locations

Key messages

  • Two studies examined the effects of offsetting habitat loss from human activity by restoring or creating habitats elsewhere on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations. One study was in the Delaware Bay (USA), the other in the Persian Gulf (Kuwait).

 

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY)

  • Overall richness/diversity (1 study): One study in the Persian Gulf found that an area of low ecological value restored to offset habitat lost to land reclamation was colonized by over 198 invertebrate species.

POPULATION RESPONSE (0 STUDIES)

OTHER (1 STUDY)

  • Biological production (1 study): One study in Delaware Bay found that an artificial reef built to offset lost soft-sediment habitat had higher annual secondary production/unit area from sessile invertebrates, but lower total annual secondary production, compared to habitat similar to that lost.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A study in 1990–1994 of an offset site in Delaware Bay, USA (Burton et al. 2002) found that a 0.7 ha artificial reef created to offset 57.4 ha of lost soft-sediment habitat had higher annual secondary production/unit area from sessile invertebrates, but lower total annual secondary production, compared to habitat similar to that lost. Annual secondary production/unit area at the offset artificial reef was 11–67 times higher than at soft-sediment habitat similar to that lost (2,000–12,000 kcal/m2/year vs 177 kcal/m2/year), but total annual secondary production was 1.3–7.6 times lower (13–77 million cal/year vs 100 million cal/year). The authors concluded that the artificial reef improved secondary production, but not enough reef was created to fully offset the lost habitat. An artificial reef was created in 1989 to mitigate the loss of mudflats elsewhere following the creation of a dredged material disposal site. Twice per summer in 1990–1994, sessile invertebrates growing on the artificial reef were identified and their biomass measured (see original paper for methods). As the mudflat habitat had already been lost, data for comparison were collected from similar soft-sediment habitats in 1990–1993 by the US Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Program. For each habitat type, biomass data were used to estimate annual secondary production.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A study in 2004–2005 of three sites in one area of soft seabed in the Persian Gulf, Kuwait (Jones et al. 2007) found that restoring a 30 km2 area of low ecological value to offset 20 km2 of habitat lost to land reclamation led to the creation of 1.27 km2 of subtidal channels that were colonized by over 198 benthic invertebrate species within a year. Al-Khiran Pearl Sea City was constructed following a biodiversity offsetting approach by creating waterways, beaches and planted areas (mangrove, seagrass, saltmarsh). One waterway was opened to the sea in 2004. In 2005, invertebrates at three sites within the waterway were surveyed using a variety of methods (see original paper) including a 0.15 m3 sediment grab and a 50 m2 dredge. Invertebrates (>0.5 mm) were identified.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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