Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research

Restoring the foreland with BESE

Visualizing ecosystem restoration in virtual reality

When ecological models of landscape formation are combined with modern visualisation technology, it become possible to depict how the ecosystems that we are restoring will look like in the future. Or it become possible to visualise how landscapes have looked like in the distant past. NIOZ is actively developing models and technology to make this possible. An example of a 3D depiction of the practice and results of the restoration of a healthy estuarine ecosystem using BESE.

Restoring the foreland using BESE 

Together with Bureau Waardenburg, the NIOZ has been very active in testing the use of BESE -Biodegradable Elements for Starting Ecosystems- to help restore populations of keystone species such as mussels and seagrass. BESE is a material that is placed as a box-like element onto the tidal flat, and that provides organisms a foothold for establishment and an environment with reduced predation, allowing them to persist in otherwise difficult environments. When this organism is a so-called 'ecosystem engineer', it can provide a basis for the recovery of an entire ecosystem as it improves conditions for other species. When these ecosystems help in buffering wave action, it can improve the safety of coastal communities, as stress on coastal defences are reduced.

The following 3D virtual reality image set provides impression of this process as a sequence of images, by which you step though the restoration process. Click on the buttons on the bottom to move in between images. Don’t forget to click-n-drag the images to look around!

This image set is in part financed by the MERCES-project (Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas).