Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp 1639–1649 | Cite as

Evolution of tidal flats in China and ecological exploitation of tidal flat resources

  • Li-Hua FengEmail author
  • Yuan-Jun Ma
Original Article


Tidal flats play a tremendous role for solving the problem of land use because of the crisis of population increments. Many coastal countries have carried out reclamation projects near seas in various degrees for a long time. China currently has about 2.13 million hm2 of tidal flats that are mainly scattered in the delta plains and coastal regions near medium- to large-sized rivers. The tidal flats in China are reserves featuring dynamic growth and a capacity for continuous expansion; the tidal flat area undergoes an annual increase of over 20,000 hm2. In recent years, countries around the world have paid much attention to the marine ecological environment and have taken measures to restrict the scale and range of sea reclamation. Although widespread reclamation of tidal flats in China has taken place, such activities have also brought some negative effect: (1) water overdraft, seawater intrusion, (2) tidal gates and channel silting, (3) environment pollution, unbalanced ecosystem, and (4) loss of wetlands and threats to the survival of species. This paper examines the mechanisms associated with tidal flat dynamic growth, and points out that artificial siltation can greatly increase the growth speed of tidal flats, and the actual measured annual siltation thickness may reach 0.5–2.7 m. At present, this paper proposes a theory relating to the ecological exploitation of this ecosystem as follows: (1) the principle of adjustment to local conditions; (2) the principle of three-dimensional distribution; (3) the principle of ecological balance; (4) the principle of green and environmental protection. In practical terms, this dynamic growth may play a significant role in mitigating conflicts relating to land use demands in coastal areas.


Tidal flat resource Dynamic growth Mechanism Artificial siltation Ecological exploitation 



The author is grateful to National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41171430) for supporting this work.


  1. Brown JM, Davies AG (2010) Flood/ebb tidal asymmetry in a shallow sandy estuary and the impact on net sand transport. Geomorphology 114(3):431–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Callaghan DP, Bouma TJ, Klaassen P, Wal DVD, Stive MJF, Herman PMJ (2010) Hydrodynamic forcing on salt-marsh development: distinguishing the relative importance of waves and tidal flows. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 89(1):73–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen JY (2000) Exploiting shallow sea tidal flat resource, expanding China’s survival space. Chin Eng Sci 2(3):27–31Google Scholar
  4. Cundy AB, Long AJ, Hill CT, Spencer C, Croudace IW (2002) Sedimentary response of Pagham Harbour, southern England to barrier breaching in AD 1910. Geomorphology 46(3–4):163–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dai HZ (2008) Comprehensive finding report of coast zone and tidal flats resources in Zhejiang Province. Marine Publishing House, Beijing, pp 126–137Google Scholar
  6. Dittmann S (2000) Zonation of benthic communities in a tropical tidal flat of north-east Australia. J Sea Res 43(1):33–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Feng LH, Bao YX (2005) Impact of human activity on the estuary of Qiantang River and the reclamation of tidal flats and river regulation. Env Geol 49(1):76–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Feng LH, Luo GY (2010) Impact of building a tidal gate on the Yongjiang River in China. Environ Eng Manag J 19(12):1709–1714Google Scholar
  9. Garcia A, Ceballos G, Adaya R (2003) Intensive beach management as an improved sea turtle conservation strategy in Mexico. Biol Conserv 111(2):253–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gu GC, Hu FX, Zhang ZT (1997) The sediment sources and forming mechanism of the silt coast in northern Zhejiang. East China Sea 15(3):1–11Google Scholar
  11. Hu YH (2000) Yongjiang records. China Publishing Bouse, Beijing, pp 180–199Google Scholar
  12. Liu JJ, Yu GH (1995) Research and application of coast engineering sediments. J Hydro-Sci Eng Study 3:221–232Google Scholar
  13. Ma L (1992) China Gulf Records. Ocean Publishing House, Beijing, pp 85–86Google Scholar
  14. Ma L (1998) Records on Qiantang River. Fangzhi Publishing House, Beijing, pp 400–411Google Scholar
  15. Maged M (2001) TOPSAR wave spectra model and coastal erosion detection. Int J Appl Earth Observ Geoinf 3(4):357–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maged M, Mazlan H (2010a) Different polarised topographic synthetic aperture radar (TOPSAR) bands for shoreline change mapping. Int J Phys Sci 5(12):1883–1889Google Scholar
  17. Maged M, Mazlan H (2010b) Velocity bunching and Canny algorithms for modelling shoreline change rate from synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Int J Phys Sci 5(12):1908–1914Google Scholar
  18. Maged M, Arthur C, Mazlan H (2009a) Comparison between radarsat-1 SAR different data modes for oil spill detection by a fractal box counting algorithm. Int J Digit Earth 2(3):237–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Maged M, Arthur C, Mazlan H (2009b) Modification of Fractal Algorithm for Oil Spill detection from RADARSAT-1 SAR data. Int J Appl Earth Observ Geoinf 11(2):96–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maged M, Zurina S, Mazlan H (2010) Mapping coastal geomorphology changes using synthetic aperture radar data. Int J Phys Sci 5(12):1890–1896Google Scholar
  21. Marghany M, Hashim M, Cracknell A (2011) Simulation of shoreline change using AIRSAR and POLSAR C-band data. Environ Earth Sci 64(4):1177–1189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rozynski G, Larson M, Pruszak Z (2001) Forced and self-organized shoreline response for a beach in the southern Baltic Sea determined through singular spectrum analysis. Coast Eng 43(1):41–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sun L, Liu HB, Yang YJ, Tan YH, Wang XB (2010) Comparative studies: Coastal reclamation management between China and abroad. J Ocean Univ China 23(5):40–46Google Scholar
  24. Volkman JK, Rohjans D, Rullkotter J (2000) Sources and diagenesis of organic matter in tidal flat sediments from the German Wadden Sea. Cont Shelf Res 20(10–11):1139–1158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yu G, Zhang JY, Lu CX, Xie GD, Yu XM (2009) Study on the impacts of marine reclamation on eco-environment. Resour Sci 31(2):265–270Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyZhejiang Normal UniversityJinhuaChina

Personalised recommendations