Marine habitat restoration in the UK: how to move forward and stop treading water

Highlighting the need for active restoration.

Marine habitats are essential to the health of our marine ecosystem, and hold environmental and social importance, providing valuable ecosystem services. For decades we have been compensating against detrimental human impact on the marine environment. This has led to very limited progress in recovering the extent and condition of important marine habitats. The UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan commits to ‘securing clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans’. However, in recent assessments it is evident that there are significant challenges to meeting the objectives outlined in the strategy to successfully deliver the Plan. Currently there are two different approaches to achieve marine-habitat restoration; reducing pressure on systems and allowing natural recovery, or taking positive action to restore marine habitats and species. This meeting will highlight the need for active restoration, to ensure that we start moving forward to recover our marine habitats. By using four habitat-focused case studies – native oyster beds, seagrass and saltmarshes – we will present the new conservation science and restoration methods that will underpin this recovery. These will help us to identify best practice, opportunities to act and how to scale up to enable ecosystem-scale recovery.



  • Dr Joanne Preston, University of Portsmouth: "Bringing back a forgotten ecosystem - native oyster restoration in the UK"
  • Dr Richard Unsworth, Swansea University and Project Seagrass: "Lessons from the UK's first major seagrass restoration project"
  • Angus Garbutt, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology: "Saltmarsh restoration in the UK"
  • Dr Ian Hendy, The Blue Marine Foundation: "Help Our Kelp"

This event is organised by Celine Gamble, Estuaries and Wetlands, ZSL and will be chaired by Alison Debney, Senior Conservation Programme Manager for UK & Europe, ZSL.





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