Oyster reef restoration fails to recoup global historic ecosystem losses despite substantial biodiversity gain

Deevesh A. Hemraj, Melanie J. Bishop, Boze Hancock, Jay J. Minuti, Ruth H. Thurstan, Philine S. E. Zu ermgassen, Bayden D. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Human activities have led to degradation of ecosystems globally. The lost ecosystem functions and services accumulate from the time of disturbance to the full recovery of the ecosystem and can be quantified as a “recovery debt,” providing a valuable tool to develop better restoration practices that accelerate recovery and limit losses. Here, we quantified the recovery of faunal biodiversity and abundance toward a predisturbed state following structural restoration of oyster habitats globally. We found that while restoration initiates a rapid increase in biodiversity and abundance of reef-associated species within 2 years, recovery rate then decreases substantially, leaving a global shortfall in recovery of 35% below a predisturbed state. While efficient restoration methods boost recovery and minimize recovery shortfalls, the time to full recovery is yet to be quantified. Therefore, potential future coastal development should weigh up not only the instantaneous damage to ecosystem functions but also the potential for generational loss of services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Advances
Volume8
Issue number47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022

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