Living Seawalls - bringing biodiversity back to coastal infrastructure

Living Seawalls
Publié: 13 février 2022
Dernière modification: 13 février 2022
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Summary

Across the world, urbanisation is placing marine and coastal habitats under increasing pressure. Seawalls are essential for shoreline protection, recreational activities and renewable energy generation but often lack the structural complexity required to support rich biodiversity. The Living Seawalls project, founded in Sydney, Australia, builds on marine research to design and produce modular ‘habitat tiles’ that mimic the living surface of marine plants and animals. The tiles can be attached to shoreline infrastructure to facilitate the colonisation of intertidal species such as oysters, barnacles, seaweeds and mussels. These species start the growth of an ecosystem by providing food and habitat for marine species and maintaining water quality. Over a thousand panels have been installed globally providing tangible benefits to local marine ecosystems. 

Classifications

Region
Europe de l’Ouest et du Sud
Océanie
Scale of implementation
Local
Mondial
Ecosystem
Area-wide development
Estuaire
Forêt côtière
Mangrove
Récif rocailleux / Rive rocailleux
Écosystème urbain
Écosystèmes marins et côtiers
Theme
Adaptation au changement climatique
Aménagement urbain
Entretien des infrastructures
Fragmentation et la dégradtion de l'habitat
Gestion des espaces côtiers et marins
Restauration
Réduction des risques de catastrophes
Science et recherche
Villes et infrastructures
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Surveillance des espèces et recherche
Planification de la conservation des espèces
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Resilience and disaster risk management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Challenges
Inondations
Hausse des températures
Montée du niveau des mers
Utilisations conflictuelles / impacts cumulatifs
Perte de l'écosystème
Espèces envahissantes
Mauvaise surveillance et application de la loi
Sustainable development goals
ODD 9 - Industrie, innovation et infrastructure
ODD 11 - Villes et communautés durables
ODD 14 - Vie aquatique
Aichi targets
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 6: Gestion durable des ressources vivantes aquatiques
Objectif 9: Espèces exotiques envahissantes évitées et contrôlées
Objectif 10: Ecosystèmes vulnérables au changement climatique
Objectif 15: Restauration et la résilience des écosystèmes

Emplacement

Sydney Harbour, Australia

Impacts

The Living Seawall Projects increases awareness of urban expansion impacts on biodiversity in our oceans. The Living Seawall project offers an example solution to remediate the environmental impacts of widespread marine construction and the rapidly declining rates of marine biodiversity.

 

In terms of ecological impact, after two years, the habitat tiles already support a third more species than the bare seawalls that had been there for decades. The panels contain a similar species diversity and quantity to natural rocky reefs nearby. More than a hundred different species of invertebrates and seaweeds were found, and over thirty species of fish used these new ecosystems. The modular design allows for the panels to be tailored to every kind of site, and the tiles can be altered depending on the local ecosystem. So far, ten different surface panels have been designed that mimic various shoreline features such as an oyster reef, roots of a mangrove forest and ‘fingers’ of a sponge structure. The panels are built specifically to provide habitat for native species.

 

With an eye on climate change, bare featureless surfaces like seawalls provide little protection from high temperatures. In pilot sites, the habitat tiles reduced surface temperatures by as much as 10 degrees, proving the project to be an opportunity for sea life climate adaptation as well.

 

 

Contribué par

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Eline van Remortel IUCN Urban Alliance