Ecological Restoration in the Deep Sea: Desiderata

An era of expanding deep-ocean industrialization is before us, with policy makers establishing governance frameworks for sustainable management of deep-sea resources while scientists learn more about the ecological structure and functioning of the largest biome on the planet. Missing from discussion of the stewardship of the deep ocean is ecological restoration. If existing activities in the deep sea continue or are expanded and new deep-ocean industries are developed, there is need to consider what is required to minimize or repair resulting damages to the deep-sea environment. In addition, thought should be given as to how any past damage can be rectified. This paper develops the discourse on deep-sea restoration and offers guidance on planning and implementing ecological restoration projects for deep-sea ecosystems that are already, or are at threat of becoming, degraded, damaged or destroyed. Two deep-sea restoration case studies or scenarios are described (deep-sea stony corals on the Darwin Mounds off the west coast of Scotland, deep-sea hydrothermal vents in Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea) and are contrasted with on-going saltmarsh restoration in San Francisco Bay. For these case studies, a set of socio-economic, ecological, and technological decision parameters that might favor (or not) their restoration are examined. Costs for hypothetical restoration scenarios in the deep sea are estimated and first indications suggest they may be two to three orders of magnitude greater per hectare than costs for restoration efforts in shallow-water marine systems.


Deep-sea resource use, Restoration science, Marine policy, Hydrothermal vents, Cold-water corals

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Van Dover C. L., Aronson J., Pendleton L., Smith S., Arnaud-Haond Sophie, Moreno-Mateos D., Barbier E., Billett D., Bowers K., Danovaro R., Edwards A., Kellert S., Morato T., Pollard E., Rogers A., Warner R. (2014). Ecological Restoration in the Deep Sea: Desiderata. Marine Policy. 44. 98-106.,

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