Handbook for restoration of eelgrass in Sweden

This manual provides a detailed guideline to eelgrass restoration and addresses all important steps in the restoration process, from site evaluation and selection, consultation and permitting, harvesting and planting, to monitoring and evaluation of results.

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More than 60% of the eelgrass has vanished from the Swedish northwest coast since the 1980s as a result of nutrient pollution and overfishing. Although measures have significantly improved water quality in recent years, no natural recovery of eelgrass has occurred. Instead, the losses of eelgrass continue as a result of e.g. coastal exploitation. Restoration of eelgrass constitutes a potential tool to recreate historic habitats and to mitigate eelgrass meadows that are destroyed during exploitation.

This handbook provides detailed technical guidelines for eelgrass restoration in Scandinavian waters and includes all important steps in the restoration process, from site selection and permit processes to harvest and planting of eelgrass, and monitoring and evaluation of results. The described methods are based on extensive studies carried out along the northwest coast of Sweden, from 2010 to 2015, and are mainly applicable to the Skagerrak – Kattegat area including the Sound. Some of the methods may also be appropriate for the southern part of the Baltic Sea, but complementary studies will be needed before they can be recommended for this area as well.

Published: 2021-03-16