Restoration Project

University of Adelaide - Gulf St. Vincent

Restoration Objective:

This study tested the hypothesis that rates of canopy recovery are substantially less in turf-dominated habitats relative to canopy-dominated landscapes. It also tested the hypothesis that canopy recovery would be enhanced within turfed landscapes if turfs were removed from the spaces between remnant forests.

Site Selection Criteria:

The selected site had historically large kelp forests that have since been lost. Whilst much of the original kelp forest has been replaced by turfed habitat, small remnants of forests are common.

Cause Of Decline:

On temperate coasts, there is concern about the permanent replacement of perennial canopy-forming algae (i.e. structurally complex and highly productive habitats), with opportunistic taxa such as filamentous turf-forming algae (i.e. comparatively simple habitats). In this habitat, turf algae was experimentally removed to simulate a disturbance.

Key Reasons For Decline:

Experimental Removal

Scientific Paper

Recovering subtidal forests in human-dominated landscapes

D. Gorman, S.D. Connell, , Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 46.


University of Adelaide

Site Observations:

Observation Date

1st Apr 2008 – 1st Apr 2009

Action Summary:

The recovery of kelps in turf dominated and macroalgae dominated habitats was compared. A disturbance was simulated by removing all kelp, turf and associated sediment from 12 replicate 1 x 1m plots from turf habitats in between remnant reefs using paint scrapers and wire brushes, and recovery of the algal community was recorded.

Lessons Learned:

Removal of turf algae from gaps in remnant kelp forest enable kelps to recruit and develop canopy cover equivalent to remnant kelp forest.

Project Outcomes:

After 8 months, canopies recovered to their former state within forested landscapes, but not in remnant forests in degraded landscapes. Twelve months after initial clearance, recovery within removal plots was 250% greater than it was within control plots. Dominant species varied between sites following recovery, and sometimes differed from the original dominant species.

Key Reasons For Decline:

Experimental Removal

Area of Restoration (In Square Metres)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Kelp Cover

Cost Currency:USD