A newly released kelp restoration guidebook from the Nature Conservancy in California and the Kelp Forest Alliance shares successes and lessons learned from kelp restoration projects across our world’s seas.
The guidebook was a highly collaborative effort that brought together 50 authors from 45 institutions and builds off decades of kelp restoration history. With this spirit of collaboration, the guidebook is one of the first outcomes for a global network of kelp restoration practitioners who can work together to ensure kelp forests flourish in our planet’s changing seas.
Program Director for the Kelp Forest Alliance and the lead author Aaron Eger says that this guidebook highlights some important elements for the field of kelp restoration. Mr. Eger says “This guidebook shows that there is much more depth to the field of kelp restoration than previously thought, we have projects across every ocean and new projects constantly starting. While we still have a lot of work to do to bring back kelp forests at grand scales, we have learned many important lessons across countries, languages, and professional sectors”.
These lessons are shared together for the first time in this guidebook, which walks readers through the importance of kelp forests, how to determine the need for restoration, how to plan for restoration and engage with ocean users, and how to plant and restore kelp and document your project. “While the resource is not a cookbook for success, it provides a collection of some of the best available knowledge in one, easy to use location, and sets the stage for further work to address our remaining problems” says Mr. Eger.
The work would not have been possible without multiple collaborations and partnerships. First came restoration workshops across 5 continents. Mr Eger reflects, “Everyone involved brought a wealth of knowledge and exceptional enthusiasm to share and learn from each other. The passion in the kelp forest community is tremendous and there is so much potential to bring people together and achieve more as a collective”. The Kelp Forest Alliance (kelpforestalliance.com) hosts the guide and will work to serve as a hub for the global kelp restoration community, bringing people together and sharing knowledge and enthusiasm.
As kelp forests are continually threatened across our world’s seas, it is imperative that we continue working together to ensure that we revive these precious ecosystems while making sure that the benefits they provide are equitably distributed through society.
“Our vision is that we connect people and accelerate learning so that we can truly advance the mission of restoring our globally important underwater forests”.
The Kelp Restoration Guidebook is an endorsed Ocean Decade Activity.
This guidebook became a reality under the leadership of The Nature Conservancy | California Oceans Program and lead authors, Mr. Aaron Eger from the Kelp Forest Alliance, and Dr. Cayne Layton from IMAS at the University of Tasmania and the Centre for Marine Socioecology (CMS).
Citation: Eger AM, Layton C, McHugh TA, Gleason M, Eddy N (2022). Kelp Restoration Guidebook: Lessons Learned from Kelp Projects Around the World. The Nature Conservancy, Sacramento USA.
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Photo credit: Ryan Miller. Removing sea urchins for a kelp restoration project in Gwaii Haanas, Canada.