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.


PDF icon Download Full Agenda and Abstracts here (231.98 KB)

In an effort to improve the sustainability of these events, we are reducing the amount of printed abstract booklets available on the night. Please help us if you're able to by downloading the online PDF version before or after the event, and bringing your own notepad for note-taking if possible. There will still be some printed copies available.



  • 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.


Please note:

ZSL is following Public Health England's guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will be continuing with our events and planned activities until such a time as the guidance changes. 

We ask anyone attending our events to read the guidance and to be considerate of the risks to themselves and others at this time, particularly if you feel unwell, have recently returned from one of the high risk countries listed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or you think you have been in contact with someone who may have contracted Coronavirus.

Further information on the virus and how to protect yourself is available on the NHS website


Attending this event

  • This Science and Conservation Event is free to attend and booking is not required.
  • Doors open at 5pm for a 6pm start.
  • Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre at the Meeting Rooms of the Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, NW1 4RY. See map
  • Underground: Camden Town Station; Nearest bus: no. 274.
  • A drinks reception for ZSL Fellows and their guests is held from 5pm – 5:50pm.  More information on ZSL Fellowship can be found here.


ZSL Library Events

The ZSL Library will be open before the event and will offer free introductory talks to its special collections from 4.45pm - 5.05pm; no need to book. Please contact or click here for further information, including some specially themed events.


ZSL Wild Science Podcast

We will be creating a fascinating podcast episode featuring some of the speakers from this event, so be sure to keep an ear out for it in the following months! Listen to more of our award winning ZSL Wild Science podcast episodes hosted by Research Fellow Dr Monni Bohm here.



  • Contact Eleanor Darbey:; +44 (0) 207 449 6227.
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