Mangroves and Salt Marshes

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 197–206

Biological and abiotic factors influencing the settlement and survival of Salicornia dolichostachya in the intertidal pioneer zone

  • Erik‐Jan Houwing
  • Erik-Jan Houwing
  • Willem E. van Duin
  • Yvonne Smit-van der Waaij
  • Kees S. Dijkema
  • Joost H.J. Terwindt
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009919008313

Cite this article as:
Houwing, E., Houwing, E., van Duin, W.E. et al. Mangroves and Salt Marshes (1999) 3: 197. doi:10.1023/A:1009919008313

Abstract

During the last two decades a decrease of salt marsh area of at least 6% was found along the mainland coast of the Dutch Wadden Sea. However, it was not clear what determined the seaward boundary of the pioneer vegetation in this area. In the period 1993–1995, abiotic and biological variables were monitored along a transect from the mudflat to the low salt marsh in two sites, the Negenboerenpolder and the Noordpolder. At the Negenboerenpolder site the pioneer zone extended further from the dike and had a dense cover with vegetation when compared to the Noordpolder site. The observed difference in extension of the pioneer zone could not be attributed to differences in tidal frequency, sedimentation rate or nutrient availability. During the winter a dramatic loss in seed numbers was found at both sites. This loss decreased from mudflat to low marsh. The mud/sand ratio, on the other hand, increased from mudflat to low marsh and was higher in the Negenboerenpolder. The shear strength of the top soil layer measured with an in‐situ erosion flume was correlated to the mud/sand ratio and increased with an increasing mud content of the soil. The strength of the soil seems to be the key factor for the settlement and survival of Salicornia dolichostachya in the pioneer zone.

erosionpioneer vegetationsalt marshseedlingssedimentshear strength

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik‐Jan Houwing
    • 1
  • Erik-Jan Houwing
    • 2
  • Willem E. van Duin
    • 3
  • Yvonne Smit-van der Waaij
    • 3
  • Kees S. Dijkema
    • 3
  • Joost H.J. Terwindt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Marine and AtmosphericResearch (IMAU)Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Inland WaterManagement and Waste Water Treatment, RijkswaterstaatDordrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute for Forestry and Nature Research (IBN‐DLO)Den BurgThe Netherlands