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Greening of grey infrastructure should not be used as a Trojan horse to facilitate coastal development

Greening of grey infrastructure should not be used as a Trojan horse to facilitate coastal development
Greening of grey infrastructure should not be used as a Trojan horse to facilitate coastal development
1. Climate change and coastal urbanisation are driving the replacement of natural habitats with artificial structures and reclaimed land globally. These novel habitats are often poor surrogates for natural habitats.

2. The application of integrated greening of grey infrastructure (IGGI) to artificial shorelines demonstrates how multifunctional structures can provide biodiversity benefits whilst simultaneously serving their primary engineering function. IGGI is being embraced globally, despite many knowledge gaps and limitations. It is a management tool to compensate anthropogenic impacts as part of the Mitigation Hierarchy. There is considerable scope for misuse and ‘greenwashing’ however, by making new developments appear more acceptable, thus facilitating the regulatory process.

3. We encourage researchers to exercise caution when reporting on small‐scale experimental trials. We advocate that greater attention is paid to when experiments ‘fail’ or yield unintended outcomes. We advise revisiting, repeating and expanding on experiments to test responses over broader spatio‐temporal scales to improve the evidence base.

4. Synthesis and applications. Where societal and economic demand makes development inevitable, particular attention should be paid to avoiding, minimising and rehabilitating environmental impacts. Integrated greening of grey infrastructure (IGGI) should be implemented as partial compensation for environmental damage. Mutual benefits for both humans and nature can be achieved when IGGI is implemented retrospectively in previously‐developed or degraded environments. We caution however, that any promise of net biodiversity gain from new developments should be scrutinised and any local ecological benefits set in the context of the wider environmental impacts. A ‘greened’ development will always impinge on natural systems, a reality that is much less recognised in the sea than on land.
biodiversity offsetting, dual-use dilemma, environmental damage, integrated greening of grey infrastructure, marine planning, mitigation hierarchy, novel ecosystem, sustainable development
0021-8901
1762-1768
Firth, L.B.
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Airoldi, L.
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Bulleri, F.
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Challinor, S.
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Chee, S.‐Y.
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Evans, A.J.
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Hanley, M.E.
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Knights, A.M.
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O’shaughnessy, K.
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Thompson, R.C.
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Hawkins, S.J.
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Firth, L.B.
4eb75281-ae51-476e-88b4-c27cd996d781
Airoldi, L.
cd180085-19d1-4995-8938-52eee2cfbdf1
Bulleri, F.
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Challinor, S.
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Chee, S.‐Y.
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Evans, A.J.
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Hanley, M.E.
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Knights, A.M.
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O’shaughnessy, K.
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Thompson, R.C.
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Hawkins, S.J.
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Firth, L.B., Airoldi, L., Bulleri, F., Challinor, S., Chee, S.‐Y., Evans, A.J., Hanley, M.E., Knights, A.M., O’shaughnessy, K., Thompson, R.C. and Hawkins, S.J. (2020) Greening of grey infrastructure should not be used as a Trojan horse to facilitate coastal development. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57 (9), 1762-1768. (doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13683).

Record type: Letter

Abstract

1. Climate change and coastal urbanisation are driving the replacement of natural habitats with artificial structures and reclaimed land globally. These novel habitats are often poor surrogates for natural habitats.

2. The application of integrated greening of grey infrastructure (IGGI) to artificial shorelines demonstrates how multifunctional structures can provide biodiversity benefits whilst simultaneously serving their primary engineering function. IGGI is being embraced globally, despite many knowledge gaps and limitations. It is a management tool to compensate anthropogenic impacts as part of the Mitigation Hierarchy. There is considerable scope for misuse and ‘greenwashing’ however, by making new developments appear more acceptable, thus facilitating the regulatory process.

3. We encourage researchers to exercise caution when reporting on small‐scale experimental trials. We advocate that greater attention is paid to when experiments ‘fail’ or yield unintended outcomes. We advise revisiting, repeating and expanding on experiments to test responses over broader spatio‐temporal scales to improve the evidence base.

4. Synthesis and applications. Where societal and economic demand makes development inevitable, particular attention should be paid to avoiding, minimising and rehabilitating environmental impacts. Integrated greening of grey infrastructure (IGGI) should be implemented as partial compensation for environmental damage. Mutual benefits for both humans and nature can be achieved when IGGI is implemented retrospectively in previously‐developed or degraded environments. We caution however, that any promise of net biodiversity gain from new developments should be scrutinised and any local ecological benefits set in the context of the wider environmental impacts. A ‘greened’ development will always impinge on natural systems, a reality that is much less recognised in the sea than on land.

Text
1365-2664.13683 - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Other.
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e-pub ahead of print date: 25 May 2020
Keywords: biodiversity offsetting, dual-use dilemma, environmental damage, integrated greening of grey infrastructure, marine planning, mitigation hierarchy, novel ecosystem, sustainable development

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441312
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441312
ISSN: 0021-8901
PURE UUID: 8193aec1-0e41-4fe1-9edb-28136798057d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Jun 2020 16:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 23:58

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Contributors

Author: L.B. Firth
Author: L. Airoldi
Author: F. Bulleri
Author: S. Challinor
Author: S.‐Y. Chee
Author: A.J. Evans
Author: M.E. Hanley
Author: A.M. Knights
Author: K. O’shaughnessy
Author: R.C. Thompson
Author: S.J. Hawkins

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