IMIS | Lifewatch regional portal

You are here


[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Print this page

Zooming in and out: scale dependence of extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting salt marsh erosion
Wang, H.; van der Wal, D.; Li, X.; van Belzen, J.; Herman, P.M.J.; Hu, Z.; Ge, Z.; Zhang, L.; Bouma, T.J. (2017). Zooming in and out: scale dependence of extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting salt marsh erosion. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 122(7): 1455-1470.

Additional data:
In: Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface. AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION: Washington. ISSN 2169-9003; e-ISSN 2169-9011, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    salt marsh;marsh edge erosion;scale-dependent factors

Authors  Top 
  • Wang, H.
  • van der Wal, D., more
  • Li, X.
  • van Belzen, J., more
  • Herman, P.M.J.
  • Hu, Z., more
  • Ge, Z.
  • Zhang, L.
  • Bouma, T.J., more

    Salt marshes are valuable ecosystems that provide important ecosystem services. Given the global scale of marsh loss due to climate change and coastal squeeze, there is a pressing need to identify the critical extrinsic (wind exposure and foreshore morphology) and intrinsic factors (soil and vegetation properties) affecting the erosion of salt marsh edges. In this study, we quantified rates of cliff lateral retreat (i.e., the eroding edge of a salt marsh plateau) using a time series of aerial photographs taken over four salt marsh sites in the Westerschelde estuary, the Netherlands. In addition, we experimentally quantified the erodibility of sediment cores collected from the marsh edge of these four marshes using wave tanks. Our results revealed the following: (i) at the large scale, wind exposure and the presence of pioneer vegetation in front of the cliff were the key factors governing cliff retreat rates; (ii) at the intermediate scale, foreshore morphology was partially related to cliff retreat; (iii) at the local scale, the erodibility of the sediment itself at the marsh edge played a large role in determining the cliff retreat rate; and (iv) at the mesocosm scale, cliff erodibility was determined by soil properties and belowground root biomass. Thus, both extrinsic and intrinsic factors determined the fate of the salt marsh but at different scales. Our study highlights the importance of understanding the scale dependence of the factors driving the evolution of salt marsh landscapes.

All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors