Friday, June 28 • 10:15 - 11:45
Framing, knowing and dreaming marine restoration.

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Chaired and organized by: Carballo Cardenas, E. & Papadopoulou, N.

Framing, Knowing and Dreaming Marine Restoration
Faced with increasing loss of biodiversity and persistent ecosystem degradation, a paradigm shift in global biodiversity policy is ongoing, moving from the traditional ‘preservation paradigm’ or a hands-off stance to conservation, towards more active forms of intervention in nature through ecosystem restoration. Restoration is defined as “the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed.” The goal is to steer the process of recovery towards a desired state of the ecosystem. This definition by the Society of Ecological Restoration is widely accepted and used in the academic literature. However, divergent interpretations exist of what the process of assisting the recovery of a degraded ecosystem means in science and in management. Multiple visions are often articulated of the desired state of the ecosystem to be pursuedbased on different underlying motivations for restoration, ways of knowing and acceptable levels of human intervention in nature. Various framings and discourses of restoration thus structure how actors and coalitions define problems and their approaches to solutions. Moreover, marine ecosystem restoration is confronted with different forms of uncertainty, namely incomplete knowledge, unpredictability, and ambiguity, which must be managed by actors participating in restoration initiatives. This panel highlights the role of knowledge, uncertainty perceptions and the challenges of negotiating a common understanding of marine ecosystem restoration through the presentation of various current and imagined restoration undertakings in European coasts and seas.

The policy implications of framing marine litter in the Netherlands
Judith R. Floor & Ansje J. Löhr

At the moment the problem of plastic litter in rivers, coastal areas and oceans is increasingly getting political attention. On the level of the UN, Europe, national and local the perception that action is required to reduce marine litter is gaining momentum. At the same time, scientists express knowledge uncertainties on the exact amounts and effects of plastic in the environment. In this study, the impact of storylines and uncertainty perceptions on policy decisions and research regarding marine litter within the Netherlands are investigated. We see a shift in the last 10 years from no specific policy for plastic towards an urgency to address the issue in policies. This shift takes place in connection to the European and global attention for the impacts of plastic litter. The Clean Meuse project is used as an example to illustrate the changes in research and policy-making efforts. We analyse the framing of natural scientists, civil society actors and policy makers on the problem, proposed actions and responsibilities for the marine litter issue. By examining the use of metaphors and storylines by different actors, we identify where perceptions on marine litter converge and diverge. Two basic storylines – clean up and prevention – underline most reactions on marine litter. However, the analysis of the Dutch case, shows perceptions are much more diverse. These perceptions are connected to expectations of research and to values of coastal and river areas, ranging from pristine nature to economic.

Implementing EU biodiversity conservation policy targets: the challenges of negotiating a common understanding of ecosystem restoration in European seas
Christopher J Smith, Nadia Papadopoulou, Eira Cárdenas & Jan van Tatenhove

Centuries of human exploitation have altered coastal and marine ecosystems in Europe. Despite the existence of more than 200 pieces of EU legislation supporting marine environmental policy and management, a range of existing and emerging pressures continue to threaten marine biodiversity and ecosystems in the four EU regional seas. Hence, calls for more ambitious policies and actions, including restoration, have become increasingly louder. The EU’s 2020 Biodiversity Strategy’s Target 2 aims to restore at least 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020. In order to implement restoration policy and be able to assess progress in achieving restoration targets, common understanding of ecosystem restoration and various interrelated key terms is crucial. This presentation assesses how various key concepts related to the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s 15% restoration target are defined and operationalized within this policy, but also in other relevant EU policies with marine ecosystem conservation and restoration provisions. It evaluates whether common and unambiguous definitions and frameworks exist to guide and measure marine ecosystem restoration efforts at the national and regional sea level. The presentation then zooms in into an imagined restoration future for two threatened marine Mediterranean species: red coral (Corallium rubrum) and the fan shell (Pinna nobilis). It explores how restoration experts define the core restoration concepts of ecosystem degradation, recovery, baseline and how they unpack the meaning of the “15%” restoration target for these focal species, under conditions characterized by multiple uncertainties.

Sander van den Burg

Offshore production of seaweeds in the North Sea is presented as panacea to many contemporary problems. Seaweed cultivation can increase biodiversity and remove pollution from the sea, offers new job opportunities to the maritime workforce and provide new feedstock for production of food, feed, fuel and biobased materials. It fits various policy agenda’s, including Blue Growth, climate policies, food security and the protein transition. The promise of seaweed contrasts with reality: although various organisation explore the practical feasibility of offshore cultivation, there are as of now only small scale test facilities in the North Sea. Seaweeds are widely used as food thickeners but new market applications only emerge slowly. Claims on feasibility of seaweed cultivation and use are therefore backed-up by studies that use (differing types of) techno-economic models. Techno-economic models are constructed to provide insight into the economic and/or environmental performance of new products and production processes. They connect research and development, engineering, and business. By linking process parameters to financial metrics, such models can help decision makers to better understand the factors that affect the profitability of technology development projects. This paper studies the epistemology of techno-economic models. Drawing upon the concepts from Science, Technology and Society studies, we analyse how techno-economic models for offshore seaweed cultivation are constructed, how they come to formulate conclusions on economic feasibility, and how these results are subsequently used by policy-makers, businesses and others. It is argued that what seems to be a neutral, scientific process of techno-economic modelling is in fact a fact-building process in which competing interest of science, business and other stakeholders mingle. Recognizing the process behind knowledge creation sheds light on the politics behind, and limitations of, such models and opens doors to better techno-economic modelling.

Friday June 28, 2019 10:15 - 11:45
REC A1.06 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam