Study

The use of storm fragments and biodegradable replanting methods allows for a low-impact habitat restoration method of seagrass meadows, in the eastern Aegean Sea

  • Published source details Ward E. A., Meek S. K. , Gordon D. M., Cameron T. C. , Steer M. D., Smith D. J. , Miliou A. & Tsimpidis T. (2020) The use of storm fragments and biodegradable replanting methods allows for a low-impact habitat restoration method of seagrass meadows, in the eastern Aegean Sea. Conservation Evidence, 17, 1-6

Summary

Seagrasses are important marine ecosystems but are vulnerable to physical damage from anthropogenic activities such as anchoring and trawling. Replanting damaged areas can represent a viable restoration strategy, yet current methods rely on the removal of plants from existing meadows and in some cases the use of non-sustainable planting materials. In this paper, we present evidence of a sustainable replanting strategy. Storm fragments of the endemic Mediterranean seagrass, neptune grass Posidonia oceanica were collected from the shore and shallow water, both the plagiotropic and orthotropic (horizontal and vertical) growth forms were then replanted using one of two biodegradable materials, coconut fibre pots or bamboo stakes, to secure them to the seafloor. Establishment of plagiotropic fragments were increased by bamboo anchorage (x̅ = 89% SE ± 0%) compared to orthotropic storm fragments (x̅ = 66.5% SE ± 6.5%). By contrast a coconut fibre method resulted in greater establishment of orthotropic fragments (x̅ = 79% SE ± 7%) compared to plagiotropic (x̅ = 51% SE ± 11%). Fragments showed some blade growth, but little shoot growth after 15 months. The fragment shoot and blade growth did not differ between the plagiotropic or orthotropic fragments replanted by bamboo stakes or coconut fibre pot. Our results suggest that the use of storm fragments and biodegradable anchoring materials constitutes a viable, non-destructive replanting technique in seagrass restoration. Furthermore success can be increased by selecting a growth-form appropriate planting method.

Output references

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, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 17

Go to the CE Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust