, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 9-18
Date: 02 Jan 2014

Twenty years of salt marsh succession on a Dutch coastal barrier island

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Abstract

After a formerly grazed salt marsh was released from cattle grazing, changes in plant species composition were monitored for 20 yr, using vegetation maps and permanent plots. Three areas, differing in age and nutrient status were compared. The number of plant species and plant communities decreased.Elymus athericus (Elytrigia pungens) became dominant in most plant communities after 5–20 yr on the oldest and most productive salt marsh. In younger areas it took more time forE. athericus to become dominant. At least 7 cm of clay seemed to be a prerequisite for this plant species to increase in dominance. The results from monitoring over decades are discussed in view of the knowledge on succession over centuries as derived from a chronosequence.