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Bioscience. 2016 Feb 1;66(2):156-163. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

Upgrading Marine Ecosystem Restoration Using Ecological-Social Concepts.

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Avigdor Abelson ( ) is with the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, in Israel. Benjamin S. Halpern is with the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Daniel C. Reed is with the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Robert J. Orth is with the School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, in Gloucester Point, Virginia. Gary A. Kendrick is with the School of Plant Biology at the University of Western Australia, in Crawley. Michael W. Beck is with the Global Marine Team of The Nature Conservancy at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Jonathan Belmaker is with the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University. Gesche Krause is with the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Earth System Knowledge Platform (ESKP), in Bremerhaven, Germany. Graham J. Edgar is with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, in Australia. Laura Airoldi is with the Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca per le Scienze Ambientali and the Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche ed Ambientali at the Università di Bologna, in Ravenna, Italy. Eran Brokovich is with the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Israel. Robert France is with the Department of Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University, in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Nadav Shashar and Noga Stambler are with the Eilat Campus at Ben-Gurion University, in Eilat, Israel; NS is also with the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Arianne de Blaeij is with the LEI at Wageningen University and Research Centre, in The Hague, The Netherlands. Pierre Salameh is with the Department of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture, in Kiryat Haim, Israel. Mordechai Shechter is with the Natural Resource and Environmental Research Center at the University of Haifa, in Israel. Peter A. Nelson is a senior fish ecologist at H. T. Harvey and Associates, in Los Gatos, California.


Conservation and environmental management are principal countermeasures to the degradation of marine ecosystems and their services. However, in many cases, current practices are insufficient to reverse ecosystem declines. We suggest that restoration ecology, the science underlying the concepts and tools needed to restore ecosystems, must be recognized as an integral element for marine conservation and environmental management. Marine restoration ecology is a young scientific discipline, often with gaps between its application and the supporting science. Bridging these gaps is essential to using restoration as an effective management tool and reversing the decline of marine ecosystems and their services. Ecological restoration should address objectives that include improved ecosystem services, and it therefore should encompass social-ecological elements rather than focusing solely on ecological parameters. We recommend using existing management frameworks to identify clear restoration targets, to apply quantitative tools for assessment, and to make the re-establishment of ecosystem services a criterion for success.


Ocean Health Index (OHI); conservation; marine ecosystems; marine spatial planning (MSP); social–ecological restoration

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