25 years of salt marsh erosion in Essex: Implications for coastal defence and nature conservation
- Cite this article as:
- Cooper, N.J., Cooper, T. & Burd, F. J Coast Conserv (2001) 7: 31. doi:10.1007/BF02742465
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This paper presents the results from a study which was undertaken to monitor, map and quantify salt marsh change along 440 km of shoreline within the county of Essex, south-east England, between 1973 and 1998. Results indicate that during this 25-yr period, 1000 ha of salt marsh has been lost in Essex, primarily due to coastal erosion. This figure represents ca. 25% of the total salt-marsh area originally present in Essex in 1973. The salt marshes of Essex are important nature conservation areas, with many sites designated as Special Protection Areas under the EC Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and as Special Areas of Conservation under the EC Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). Salt marshes are also natural features which significantly dissipate wave and tidal energy, thereby playing an important role in contributing to effective coastal defence. The large-scale loss of salt marsh in Essex has, therefore, implications for both nature conservation and flood defence. Potential hypotheses for, and implications of such losses are discussed in this paper, together with the identification of potential management approaches to alleviate the losses.
KeywordsAerial photography Coastal squeeze GIS Sea level rise
Nature Conservancy Council
Institute of Terrestrial Ecology