Want to know more about seagrass restoration using BESE-elements? Read the paper by Tjisse van der Heide, Royal NIOZ on outcomes for Zostera marina restoration in four countries.
The full paper can be read here
Recent work on seagrasses and salt marsh cordgrasses highlights that restoration yields can be greatly enhanced by temporarily mimicking key emergent traits, for example by using biodegradable BESE-elements. These temporary supporting or protective materials provide a stable surface for transplantation, and in some cases reduce herbivory and hydrodynamic disturbances. In this restoration experiment with the temperate seagrass Zostera marina at four sites (Finland, Sweden, UK, USA) with contrasting hydrodynamic regimes, we simulated dense roots mats or vegetation canopies with biodegradable structural mimics. Results show that by mimicking sediment-stabilizing root mats, seagrass transplant survival, growth and expansion was strongly enhanced in hydrodynamically exposed environments. However, these positive effects decreased and turned negative under benign conditions, while mimics insufficiently mitigated physical stress in extremely exposed environments, illustrating upper and lower limits of the application. Our findings emphasize the importance of understanding the conditions at the restoration site, species-specific growth requirements, and self-facilitating traits as a tool to improve restoration success.