Goal of our project
At an eroding saltmarsh edge we compared methods used for outplanting salt marsh vegetation with and without the use of biodegradable structures. The aim was to quantify the effectiveness of using BESE-elements for restoration of salt marsh vegetation.
At two elevations - mid and high marsh –1 m2 plots BESE-elements (3-layers) were used. A 10 cm tussock of cordgrass (Spartina anglica) was planted in a hole in the middle. Treatments included: A. Aboveground structure (on top of sediment), B. Belowground structure (in sediment) and C. Control (no structure)
Over 16 months, above-and belowground structures positively affected survival and growth of cordgrass transplants. Survival was zero in controls that lacked the establishment structure. Cordgrass was most strongly facilitated by aboveground structures with survival at 100%. Additionally, structures facilitated spontaneous recruitment of saltmarsh pioneers in the following growing season. Recruits included the annual genus Salicornia and five other perennial species that were absent in the neighboring pioneer zone. Recruits reached densities 60x higher and three times greater in mass inside of the structures than in the neighboring ambient environment.