Challenges for Restoration of Coastal Marine Ecosystems in the Anthropocene

Avigdor Abelson, Daniel C. Reed, Graham J. Edgar, Carter S. Smith, Gary A. Kendrick, Robert J. Orth, Laura Airoldi, Brian Silliman, Michael W. Beck, Gesche Krause, Nadav Shashar, Noga Stambler, Peter Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Coastal marine ecosystems provide critical goods and services to humanity but many are experiencing rapid degradation. The need for effective restoration tools capable of promoting large-scale recovery of coastal ecosystems in the face of intensifying climatic stress has never been greater. We identify four major challenges for more effective implementation of coastal marine ecosystem restoration (MER): (1) development of effective, scalable restoration methods, (2) incorporation of innovative tools that promote climate adaptation, (3) integration of social and ecological restoration priorities, and (4) promotion of the perception and use of coastal MER as a scientifically credible management approach. Tackling these challenges should improve restoration success rates, heighten their recognition, and accelerate investment in and promotion of coastal MER. To reverse the accelerating decline of marine ecosystems, we discuss potential directions for meeting these challenges by applying coastal MER tools that are science-based and actionable. For coastal restoration to have a global impact, it must incorporate social science, technological and conceptual advances, and plan for future climate scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number544105
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2020


  • coastal marine ecosystems
  • coral reefs
  • kelp
  • mangrove
  • oyster reefs
  • saltmarshes
  • seagrass
  • social-ecological restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


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