Part 4 Studies on Biogeochemical and Physical Processes in Coastal Ecosystems


, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 367-373

First online:

The influence of vegetation on erosion and accretion in salt marshes of the Oosterschelde, The Netherlands

  • Martha M. van EerdtAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Geography, State University

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The total root strength of two plant species (Spartina anglica and Limonium vulgare) is related to salt marsh cliff erosion in the Krabbenkreek (Oosterschelde). A ranking order in cliff stability is predicted on the basis of these root strength calculations. It turns out that the S. anglica root system is more effective in reducing lateral cliff erosion than the root system of L. vulgare. Also the establishment of S. anglica by germination of seeds is studied in relation to the erosion/deposition rates at an accretion site in the Krabbenkreek. The percentage of seeds washed away depends on the mobility of the superficial sediment which increases with decreasing height above N.A.P. (Dutch Ordnance Level). Above 0.90 m + N.A.P. a germination of 20% is measured, but seedlings survive the winter period only in the zone where a patchy vegetation already exists. It is concluded that generative spread of S. anglica in the Krabbenkreek is not very likely under the present hydrodynamic conditions.


Generative establishment Limonium vulgare Salt-marsh accretion Salt-marsh cliff retreat Spartina anglica Tensile root strength