What Has Changed with Seagrass Restoration in 64 Years?

Fonseca, M.S.

Publication Date:

A brief appraisal of the present state of seagrass restoration in the context of the 64-year-old seminal publication by C.E. Addy reveals that early observations were prescient and have remained the basis for our collective attempts to conduct open system seagrass restoration. Our ability to ensure restoration success remains limited. A flawed philosophical framework for choosing restoration, frequently exacerbated by management inexperience and failure to apply known standards for site selection, continues to plague the process. Moreover, seagrass restoration has become an on-demand attempt to overcome hysteresis and shift a habitat from one stable state (unvegetated) to what is arguably a more complex stable state (vegetated) by artificial colonization methods. These methods are frequently overwhelmed by natural processes that ordinarily rely on orders of magnitude more propagules and years of recruitment classes. As a result, the expectations for successful seagrass restoration, like most wild community restoration projects, are often unrealistic and improperly held to an even higher standard than agricultural crops.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Ecological Restoration