Inundation frequency determines the post-pioneer successional pathway in a newly created salt marsh

  • Published source details Pétillon J., Erfanzadeh R., Garbutt A., Maelfait J. & Hoffmann M. (2010) Inundation frequency determines the post-pioneer successional pathway in a newly created salt marsh. Wetlands, 30, 1097-1105.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reprofile/relandscape: brackish/salt marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Reprofile/relandscape: brackish/salt marshes

    A study in 1999–2007 aiming to create a salt marsh in an estuary in Belgium (Pétillon et al. 2010) reported that an area cleared and reprofiled to allow tidal inundation was colonized by vegetation, including salt marsh species, within one year. Immediately after reprofiling the area was bare sediment. After one year, the site had 16% total vegetation cover and 5 plant species/4 m2. After five years, the site had 75% total vegetation cover, with 10 plant species/4 m2 and a total of 119 plant species across the site. The most abundant species were annual seablite Suaeda maritima (20% cover) and glasswort Salicornia europaea (8% cover). Between one and five years after reprofiling, the plant community composition changed significantly, especially in higher areas flooded less often (data reported as a turnover index). Methods: Between 1999 and 2002, a site on the edge of an estuary was reprofiled to facilitate tidal inundation. Buildings and fill material were removed to create a slope with varying flooding frequencies. Plant species and their cover were recorded in 2003, 2005 and 2007 in 119 permanent 4-m2 quadrats, placed along transects perpendicular to the shoreline.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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