reference : Wetland loss patterns and inundation-productivity relationships prognosticate widespread salt marsh loss for southern New England

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/reference/2ffdedca-017c-4411-b7f9-7f7c3ad0baa8
Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract Tidal salt marsh is a key defense against, yet is especially vulnerable to, the effects of accelerated sea level rise. To determine whether salt marshes in southern New England will be stable given increasing inundation over the coming decades, we examined current loss patterns, inundation-productivity feedbacks, and sustaining processes. A multi-decadal analysis of salt marsh aerial extent using historic imagery and maps revealed that salt marsh vegetation loss is both widespread and accelerating, with vegetation loss rates over the past four decades summing to 17.3 %. Landward retreat of the marsh edge, widening and headward expansion of tidal channel networks, loss of marsh islands, and the development and enlargement of interior depressions found on the marsh platform contributed to vegetation loss. Inundation due to sea level rise is strongly suggested as a primary driver: vegetation loss rates were significantly negatively correlated with marsh elevation (r2 = 0.96; p = 0.0038), with marshes situated below mean high water (MHW) experiencing greater declines than marshes sitting well above MHW. Growth experiments with Spartina alterniflora, the Atlantic salt marsh ecosystem dominant, across a range of elevations and inundation regimes further established that greater inundation decreases belowground biomass production of S. alterniflora and, thus, negatively impacts organic matter accumulation. These results suggest that southern New England salt marshes are already experiencing deterioration and fragmentation in response to sea level rise and may not be stable as tidal flooding increases in the future.
Author Watson, Elizabeth Burke; Wigand, Cathleen; Davey, Earl W.; Andrews, Holly M.; Bishop, Joseph; Raposa, Kenneth B.
DOI 10.1007/s12237-016-0069-1
Date May 01
ISSN 1559-2731
Issue 3
Journal Estuaries and Coasts
Pages 662-681
Title Wetland loss patterns and inundation-productivity relationships prognosticate widespread salt marsh loss for southern New England
Type of Article journal article
Volume 40
Year 2017
Bibliographic identifiers
_record_number 26246
_uuid 2ffdedca-017c-4411-b7f9-7f7c3ad0baa8