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A Global Synthesis Reveals Gaps in Coastal Habitat Restoration Research

Division of Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
University Program in Ecology, Duke University Marine Lab, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
Intsituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), UNMdP, CONICET, CC1260, Mar del Plata 7600, Argentina
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Morehead City, NC 28557, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1040;
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 1 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Restoration for Coastal Sustainability)
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Coastal ecosystems have drastically declined in coverage and condition across the globe. To combat these losses, marine conservation has recently employed habitat restoration as a strategy to enhance depleted coastal ecosystems. For restoration to be a successful enterprise, however, it is necessary to identify and address potential knowledge gaps and review whether the field has tracked scientific advances regarding best practices. This enables managers, researchers, and practitioners alike to more readily establish restoration priorities and goals. We synthesized the peer-reviewed, published literature on habitat restoration research in salt marshes, oyster reefs, and seagrasses to address three questions related to restoration efforts: (i) How frequent is cross-sector authorship in coastal restoration research? (ii) What is the geographic distribution of coastal restoration research? and (iii) Are abiotic and biotic factors equally emphasized in the literature, and how does this vary with time? Our vote-count survey indicated that one-third of the journal-published studies listed authors from at least two sectors, and 6% listed authors from all three sectors. Across all habitat types, there was a dearth of studies from Africa, Asia, and South America. Finally, despite many experimental studies demonstrating that species interactions can greatly affect the recovery and persistence of coastal foundation species, only one-fourth of the studies we examined discussed their effects on restoration. Combined, our results reveal gaps and discrepancies in restoration research that should be addressed in order to further propel coastal restoration science. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaboration, conservation; consumers; facilitation; habitat restoration; oyster reef; positive interactions; salt marsh; seagrass collaboration, conservation; consumers; facilitation; habitat restoration; oyster reef; positive interactions; salt marsh; seagrass

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Zhang, Y.S.; Cioffi, W.R.; Cope, R.; Daleo, P.; Heywood, E.; Hoyt, C.; Smith, C.S.; Silliman, B.R. A Global Synthesis Reveals Gaps in Coastal Habitat Restoration Research. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1040.

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