Estuarine Marsh: An Overview

Reference work entry

Abstract

Estuarine marshes commonly called “salt and brackish marshes” are tidal wetlands associated with the world’s estuaries where salinities range from well above sea strength to nearly freshwater. Subject to frequent tidal flooding, plant communities are dominated by halophytic (salt-tolerant) herbs, subshrubs, and/or succulent-leaved shrubs. Not uniformly distributed along the world’s sea coasts, tidal marshes tend to be the dominant plant community of the intertidal zone at middle and higher latitudes. The global extent of estuarine marshes is not well documented and this contributes to conservative estimates of their soil carbon stores. Most regions report significant historical and on-going loss of estuarine marshes by 1) human developments that in-part reflect a shift from an agrarian to industrial society and 2) natural events. Economic and cultural values set by society determine how estuarine marshes functions that yield many benefits to people and the estuarine aquatic ecosystem are valued. Estuarine marshes are increasingly being recognized among the world’s most valuable ecosystems and, given their location between land and the sea, are especially vulnerable to human development and the effects of climate change.

Keywords

Brackish marsh Climate change effect on estuarine marsh Coastal wetland Ecosystem services - estuarine marsh Estuarine marsh Plant diversity - estuarine marsh Salt marsh Tidal wetland Wetland distribution - estuarine marsh Wetland functions - estuarine marsh Wetland threats - estuarine marsh Wetland trends - estuarine marsh 

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Wetlands and Environmental Education and Research, Inc.LeverettUSA
  2. 2.Nova Scotia Department of Natural ResourcesKentvilleCanada

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