The ecosystem impacts of kelp forest habitat restoration, including important fishery species
This research has shown that kelp forest restoration is possible in barrens when purple urchins are selectively removed. These results provide support for the large-scale habitat restoration that is now being performed along the Palos Verdes Peninsula in cooperation with other local non-profits and commercial fishermen.The Ecosystem Impacts of Kelp Forest Habitat Restoration study will provide a critical evaluation of the potential for kelp restoration to improve ecosystem structure and function, including some of the most important recreational and commercial fishery species in Southern California. These results will contribute to the development of comprehensive adaptive management strategies to increase the resilience of kelp forest ecosystems to the stressors associated with urban environments (e.g. overfishing, sedimentation and runoff events) and global phenomena which may be associated with climate change (e.g. frequency of ENSO and large storm events). Additionally, establishing the impacts that urchin barrens have on common ecosystem attributes will directly relate to the evaluation of the recently established network of MPAs in the region and the associated development of long-term adaptive management plans. Results will assist resource managers, politicians and other important stakeholders in better calibrating their temporal expectations for restoration efforts.