Introduce nurse plants: brackish/saline swamps

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects, on naturally colonizing vegetation, of introducing nurse plants to restore or create brackish/saline swamps. The study was in India.






  • Height (1 study): One study on an estuarine mudflat in India reported that the average height of mangrove propagules trapped by nurse grasses increased by 21–90% (depending on the species) over the first month after establishment.


  • Germination/emergence (1 study): One study on an estuarine mudflat in India reported that 60–80% (depending on the species) of mangrove propagules trapped by nurse grasses developed into seedlings. Saltmarsh grasses trapped 1,200–1,372 mangrove propagules/m2/week, approximately 1–2 years after they were planted.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A study in 2013–2016 on an estuarine mudflat in northeast India (Begam et al. 2017) reported that an area planted with saltmarsh grasses trapped mangrove propagules, that the majority of these propagules established, and the average height of established propagules increased. In the two monsoon seasons approximately 18–30 months after planting, grassy vegetation patches trapped an average of 1,200–1,372 mangrove propagules/m2/week. Between 60 and 80 per cent of trapped propagules developed into seedlings (depending on species). The average height of established seedlings increased by 21–90% taller over the first month after establishment (depending on species). Methods: In 2013, four grass species were transplanted from nearby marshes to an estuarine mudflat (lower and middle intertidal zones; water salinity 19–34 ppt). There were mangrove forests elsewhere in the estuary as a source of propagules. The resulting grassy vegetation patches were surveyed weekly in the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 monsoon seasons. Mangrove propagules were counted along 10 x 100 m transects. Seedlings were counted and measured in 100-m2 subplots as soon as they had established, then measured again one month later.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Taylor N.G., Grillas P., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Marsh and Swamp Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions to Conserve Marsh and Swamp Vegetation. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Marsh and Swamp Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Marsh and Swamp Conservation
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Marsh and Swamp Conservation - Published 2021

Marsh and Swamp Synopsis

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