European researchers studied the natural establishment of salt marsh vegetation as inspiration for new restoration techniques. The study focused on natural establishment of seedlings in the salt-marsh pioneer zone on tidal flats as a model system. BESE-elements, porous biodegradable structures, were then used to attempt to generate growth-promoting sediment bed forms in a manipulative experiment. Flume experiments demonstrate how these structures produce a sheltered hydrodynamic environment in which suspended sediment and seeds settle. The success of this technique for restoration is attributed to the possibility of (1) enhanced seed retention, (2) suppressed mortality, and (3) accelerated growth rates of salt marsh plants like glasswort Salicornia.

Read the article in Ecological Applications

Researchers from the Netherlands and Italy collaborated in this research, authored by Gregory S. Fivash, NIOZ and co-authored by Karin and Wouter of BESE. 

Photo credits: R Temmink, NIOZ

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