Ecological restoration, a ecological coastal engineering solution

Reconciling economic growth and the protection of the environment is a moral duty and one imposed by legislation. Currently, all ecosystems suffer from anthropogenic pressure (=human origin) in addition to natural disturbances. Too strong or too extended accumulations of these disturbances can slow down ecosystem regeneration, or even prevent it from returning to its previous condition, even if all pressure is eliminated. This is known as catastrophic transition: the ecosystem resilience capacity, defined using a specific threshold, is overwhelmed. Faced with a deteriorating ecosystem, prevention and damage avoidance actions must be privileged. Ecological restoration can only be considered if the cause of the deterioration is removed… otherwise it will fail. It must be conducted alongside management and protection measures.

Ecological restoration is assistance in re-establishing, regenerating or auto-regenerating a damaged, deteriorated or destroyed ecosystem (SER, 2004). The implementation of such actions requires good ecological and biological knowledge but also knowledge of materials and site management if the expected results are to be achieved. Ecological restoration in the marine environment is still a new discipline that is the subject of experimentation.

The methods used in ecological restoration vary depending on the state of the targeted ecosystem, the targeted reference ecosystem and the causes of damage. In order to restore an ecosystem and its vanished or damaged functions, site cleaning can be proposed (removal of mud, waste, etc.), as well as the eradication of species, the transplanting of species or the introduction of artificial habitats.

Through its experience, its team’s theoretical and practical knowledge and its research work, Andromède Océanologie has many advantages to successfully complete your ecological restoration projects. Amongst our successful projects, are the dis-entombment of a coralligenous reef at Cap-Ferrat (RESCOR programme), the elimination of an invasive exotic algae (Caulerpa taxifolia, 14,150 m²) from a 10 ha work zone, the transplanting of 500 m² of Posidonia, the replanting of 16000 (150 m²) Posidonia plants in a protected zone (REPIC programme), …

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