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Improving coastal restoration by temporarily imitating nature

Coastal ecosystems are in rapid decline around the world. Restoring them is very expensive and is often unsuccessful. But an international team of researchers discovered a way of increasing restoration success of salt marshes and seagrass meadows, using biodegradable mats. Their findings will be published in Nature Communications >>.

After several months, clonal growth was visible in the seagrass, not just within the structure but beyond it too. Credit: Marjolijn Christianen
A slowly eroding salt marsh (right). In the middle you can see green islands made up of cordgrass and samphire. This is where we placed biodegradable structures which simulate emergent properties. Site: De Schorren, Texel. Credit: Ralph Temmink.

Coastal ecosystems are very important. They provide a habitat for many plant and animal species, capture CO2, and protect the land from storm waves. Researchers from Radboud University, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Bureau Waardenburg, Wageningen University and the University of Groningen found that biodegradable mats made with the by-products of potato processing can help with the restoration of seagrass meadows, salt marshes and other coastal ecosystems.

Stronger together

Protected growth

Ecosystem restoration

Mimicry of emergent traits amplifies coastal restoration successet al, Nature Communications. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17438-4

Link to videoabstract The explanatory animation illustrates the restoration succes.

More information on improving coastal restoration? Please contact: 

The installation of the biodegradable structures for underwater seagrass meadows was carried out by divers. Credit: Marjolijn Christianen