Does vegetation prevent wave erosion of salt marsh edges?

Feagin, R.A., Lozada-Bernard, S.M. , Ravens, T.M., Möller, I., Yeager, K.M. , and Baird, A.H. (2009) Does vegetation prevent wave erosion of salt marsh edges? National Academy of Sciences. Proceedings, 106 (25). pp. 10109-10113.

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This study challenges the paradigm that salt marsh plants prevent lateral wave-induced erosion along wetland edges by binding soil with live roots and clarifies the role of vegetation in protecting the coast. In both laboratory flume studies and controlled field experiments, we show that common salt marsh plants do not significantly mitigate the total amount of erosion along a wetland edge. We found that the soil type is the primary variable that influences the lateral erosion rate and although plants do not directly reduce wetland edge erosion, they may do so indirectly via modification of soil parameters. We conclude that coastal vegetation is best-suited to modify and control sedimentary dynamics in response to gradual phenomena like sea-level rise or tidal forces, but is less well-suited to resist punctuated disturbances at the seaward margin of salt marshes, specifically breaking waves.

Item ID: 11238
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: coast; hurricane; wave attenuation; wetland
Date Deposited: 21 May 2010 04:27
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050203 Environmental Education and Extension @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 60%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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