European Tidal Saltmarshes

  • Nick C. Davidson
Reference work entry


Tidal vegetated marshes (saltmarshes) are widespread around all the coastlines of Europe, from the Mediterranean and Black Seas in the south to the Arctic Ocean in the north. Largest areas of European saltmarsh are on the Atlantic and North Sea coasts, particularly in the many estuaries around the coast of Great Britain and the international Wadden Sea (Netherlands, Germany and Denmark). Saltmarsh vegetation diversity is highest amongst these Atlantic saltmarshes and also in the Mediterranean. European saltmarshes are important as spawning and nursery areas for fish, and for their breeding and wintering waterbird populations. Although much of the saltmarsh resource is covered by multiple international and national nature conservation designations, its conservation status is generally rated unfavourable. Much saltmarsh has been embanked or infilled in past centuries for agriculture, and urban and industrial developments, leading to a “coastal squeeze” which, with rising sea levels, has increased marsh erosion, threatening sea defences and increasing flood risk.


Tidal Vegetated marsh Saltmarsh, vegetation diversity Nature conservation Land-claim Managed realignment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Land, Water and SocietyCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.Nick Davidson EnvironmentalWigmoreUK

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