Ecosystem service benefits and costs of deep-sea ecosystem restoration

Chen, Wenting; Wallhead, Philip; Hynes, Stephen; Groeneveld, Rolf; O'Connor, Eamon; Gambi, Cristina; Danovaro, Roberto; Tinch, Rob; Papadopoulou, Nadia; Smith, Chris


Deep-sea ecosystems are facing degradation which could have severe consequences for biodiversity and the livelihoods of coastal populations. Ecosystem restoration as a natural based solution has been regarded as a useful means to recover ecosystems. The study provides a social cost-benefit analysis for a proposed project to restore the Dohrn Canyon cold water corals and the deep-sea ecosystem in the Bay of Naples, Italy. By incorporating ecosystem service benefits and uncertainties related to a complex natural-technological-social system surrounding restoration activities, the study demonstrated how to evaluate large-scale ecosystem restoration activities. The results indicate that an ecosystem restoration project can be economic (in terms of welfare improvement) even if the restoration costs are high. Our study shows the uncertainty associated with restoration success rate significantly affects the probability distribution of the expected net present values. Identifying and controlling the underlying factors to improve the restoration successful rate is thus crucial.