Salt Marshes

  • Salt marshes have been playing an outsized role in stabilising the environment.
  • But more than 90 per cent of these biologically productive ecosystems may soon succumb to sea level rise by the turn of the century, according to a recent study.

About Salt marshes

  • Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tides.
  • They are found in intertidal zones along coastlines, usually in protected areas such as estuaries or bays.
  • They are dominated by grasses and other salt-tolerant plants such as sedges, cordgrass, rushes, and mangroves.
  • Salt marshes occur worldwide, particularly in middle to high latitudes.
  • Salt marshes protect shorelines from erosion by buffering wave action and trapping sediments.
  • They reduce flooding by slowing and absorbing rainwater and protect water quality by filtering runoff, and by metabolizing excess nutrients.

Coastal squeeze

  • Marshes all over the globe experience ‘coastal squeeze,’ where their movement is obstructed by sea level rise, anthropogenic activities and geographical factors. For instance, a seawall that protects a home from inundation will prevent a wetland from naturally migrating to higher ground.
  • Sea level rise is the most important threat to salt marshes.
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