The ability of a habitat, community or individual (or individual colony) of species to redress damage sustained as a result of an external factor.

Recoverability is only applicable if and when the impacting factor has been removed or has stopped. Ranks also only refer to the recoverability potential of a species, based on their reproductive biology etc.

Rank Definition (from Hiscock et al., 1999)
None Recovery is not possible
Very low / none Partial recovery is only likely to occur after about 10 years and full recovery may take over 25 years or never occur.
Low Only partial recovery is likely within 10 years and full recovery is likely to take up to 25 years.
Moderate Only partial recovery is likely within 5 years and full recovery is likely to take up to 10 years.
High Full recovery will occur but will take many months (or more likely years) but should be complete within about five years.
Very high Full recovery is likely within a few weeks or at most 6 months.
Immediate Recovery immediate or within a few days.
Not relevant For when intolerance is not relevant or cannot be assessed. Recoverability cannot have a value if there is no "intolerance" and is thus "Not relevant".
Insufficient information Insufficient information


  • Hiscock, K, Jackson, A. & Lear, D., 1999. Assessing seabed species and ecosystem sensitivities: existing approaches and development, October 1999 edition. Report to the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions form the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN), Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Plymouth.