Seawalls are common features in coastal landscapes. They can alter ecological processes in coastal wetland ecosystems at multiple scales. Evaluation those ecological effects requires consideration of spatial characteristics of variables. We used a scaling method, quadrat variance analysis, to quantify the patterns and scale characteristics of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) in a wetland reclaimed by a 30-year-old seawall and a natural wetland in the Yellow River Delta, China, and then analyzed their spatial relationships with different plant and soil variables. The results revealed that spatial variances in SOC and TN in the seawall-reclaimed wetland had two scales. The smaller scale (40 m) was the distance between soil salinity patches, reflecting the influences of soil salinity on SOC and TN. The larger one (130 m) was the distance between shrub communities and the grass patches beneath them, reflecting the influences of shrubs on SOC and TN. However, in the natural wetland, both SOC and TN had only one scale of variance (90 m), which reflected the influences of soil salinity. Soil salinity determined the spatial patterns of dominant grass patches, and thus SOC and TN. Seawall altered plant distributions and shrub–grass interactions, thereby affected the patterns of SOC and TN. Scaling method can help us to efficiently evaluate the landscape impacts of seawalls on coastal wetlands.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Bai J, Xiao R, Zhang K, Gao H, Cui B, Liu X (2013) Soil organic carbon as affected by land use in young and old reclaimed regions of a coastal estuary wetland, China. Soil Use Manag 29:57–64
Bi XL, Wenb XH, Yi HP, Wu XQ, Gao M (2014) Succession in soil and vegetation caused by coastal embankment in southern Laizhou Bay, China-flourish or degradation? Ocean Coast Manag 88:1–7
Bulleri F, Chapman MG (2010) The introduction of coastal infrastructure as a driver of change in marine environments. J Appl Ecol 47:26–35
Chen M, Maie N, Parish K, Jaffé R (2013) Spatial and temporal variability of dissolved organic matter quantity and composition in an oligotrophic subtropical coastal wetland. Biogeochemistry 115:167–183
Craine JM, Ballantyne F, Peel M, Zambatis N, Morrow C, Stock WD (2009) Grazing and landscape controls on nitrogen availability across 330 south African savanna sites. Austral Ecol 34:731–740
Davis N, Vanblaricom GR, Dayton PK (1982) Man-made structures on marine-sediments - effects on adjacent benthic communities. Mar Biol 70:295–303
Duarte CM, Middelburg JJ, Caraco N (2005) Major role of marine vegetation on the oceanic carbon cycle. Biogeosciences 2:1–8
Ettema CH, Wardle DA (2002) Spatial soil ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 17:177–183
Fu X, Liu G, Huang C, Liu Q (2011) Analysis of ecological characteristics of coastal zone in the Yellow River Delta under dam disturbance. J Geo-information Sci 13:797–803 (in Chinese)
He Q, Cui B, Cai Y, Deng J, Sun T, Yang Z (2009) What confines an annual plant to two separate zones along coastal topographic gradients? Hydrobiologia 630:327–340
He Q, Cui BS, Bertness MD, An Y (2012) Testing the importance of plant strategies on facilitation using congeners in a coastal community. Ecology 93:2023–2029
Levin SA (1992) The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73:1943–1967
Liu F, Wu XB, Bai E, Boutton TW, Archer SR (2010) Spatial scaling of ecosystem C and N in a subtropical savanna landscape. Glob Chang Biol 16:2213–2223
Liu JT, Rong QQ, Zhao YY (2017) Variations in soil nutrients and salinity caused by tamarisk in the coastal wetland of the Laizhou Bay, China. Ecosphere 8:e01672
Lo Iacono C, Mateo MA, Gracia E, Guasch L, Carbonell R, Serrano L, Serrano O, Danobeitia J (2008) Very high-resolution seismo-acoustic imaging of seagrass meadows (Mediterranean Sea): implications for carbon sink estimates. Geophys Res Lett 35:L18601
Lu QQ, Bai JH, Zhang GL, Zhao QQ, Wu JJ (2018) Spatial and seasonal distribution of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur and their ecological stoichiometry in wetland soils along a water and salt gradient in the Yellow River Delta, China. Phys Chem Earth 104:9–17
Ma ZJ, Melville DS, Liu JG, Chen Y, Yang HY, Ren WW, Zhang ZW, Piersma T, Li B (2014) ECOSYSTEMS MANAGEMENT rethinking China's new great wall. Science 346:912–914
McLeod E, Chmura GL, Bouillon S, Salm R, Bjork M, Duarte CM, Lovelock CE, Schlesinger WH, Silliman BR (2011) A blueprint for blue carbon: toward an improved understanding of the role of vegetated coastal habitats in sequestering CO2. Front Ecol Environ 9:552–560
Ottinger M, Kuenzer C, Liu G, Wang S, Dech S (2013) Monitoring land cover dynamics in the Yellow River Delta from 1995 to 2010 based on Landsat 5 TM. Appl Geogr 44:53–68
Perkol-Finkel S, Ferrario F, Nicotera V, Airoldi L (2012) Conservation challenges in urban seascapes: promoting the growth of threatened species on coastal infrastructures. J Appl Ecol 49:1457–1466
Rosenberg MS, Anderson CD (2011) PASSaGE: pattern analysis, spatial statistics and geographic exegesis. Version 2. Methods Ecol Evol 2:229–232
Rosenzweig C, Solecki WD, Blake R, Bowman M, Faris C, Gornitz V, Horton R, Jacob K, LeBlanc A, Leichenko R, Linkin M, Major D, O'Grady M, Patrick L, Sussman E, Yohe G, Zimmerman R (2011) Developing coastal adaptation to climate change in the New York City infrastructure-shed: process, approach, tools, and strategies. Clim Chang 106:93–127
Saintilan N, Rogers K (2015) Woody plant encroachment of grasslands: a comparison of terrestrial and wetland settings. New Phytol 205:1062–1070
Urban DL (2005) Modeling ecological processes across scales. Ecology 86:1996–2006
Wang H, Wang RQ, Yu Y, Mitchell MJ, Zhang LJ (2011) Soil organic carbon of degraded wetlands treated with freshwater in the Yellow River Delta, China. J Environ Manag 92:2628–2633
Wang HQ, Piazza SC, Sharp LA, Stagg CL, Couvillion BR, Steyer GD, McGinnis TE (2017) Determining the spatial variability of wetland soil bulk density, organic matter, and the conversion factor between organic matter and organic carbon across coastal Louisiana, USA. J Coast Res 33:507–517
Wu J (2004) Effects of changing scale on landscape pattern analysis: scaling relations. Landsc Ecol 19:125–138
Xia, J. B., X. M. Zhao, Y. P. Chen, Y. Fang & Z. G. Zhao (2016) Responses of Water and Salt Variables to Groundwater Levels for Soil Columns Planted with Tamarix chinensis. PLoS One, 11:e0145828
Yang W, Qiao YJ, Li N, Zhao H, Yang R, Leng X, Cheng XL, An SQ (2017) Seawall construction alters soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics and soil microbial biomass in an invasive Spartina alterniflora salt marsh in eastern China. Appl Soil Ecol 110:1–11
Yu J, Li Y, Han G, Zhou D, Fu Y, Guan B, Wang G, Ning K, Wu H, Wang J (2014) The spatial distribution characteristics of soil salinity in coastal zone of the Yellow River Delta. Environ Earth Sci 72:589–599
Yu, J. B., C. Zhan, Y. Z. Li, D. Zhou, Y. Q. Fu, X. J. Chu, Q. H. Xing, G. X. Han, G. M. Wang, B. Guan & Q. Wang (2016) Distribution of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in coastal wetland soil related land use in the Modern Yellow River Delta. Sci Rep, 6:37940
The work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31670471 and 31870468).
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Zhou, S., Bi, X. Seawall effects in a coastal wetland landscape: spatial changes in soil carbon and nitrogen pools. J Coast Conserv 24, 11 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-019-00718-7
- Spatial pattern
- Scaling method
- Soil organic carbon
- Coastal wetland
- The Yellow River Delta